Silence – ‘tis a true friend to us all. But, it’s the friend we all run away from. Why are we so afraid of silence? Because silence is a brutally honest friend, that tells us the deepest truths about ourselves.
It reveals to us our inner sentiments, our joys, hopes, dreams, fears and our wretchedness.
Noise – the friend we are all attached to. Unlike silence, noise isn’t a true friend. Noise doesn’t really care. Noise is like a people pleaser – tells us things we would like to hear to boost our ego, affirms, gives pleasure and aims to constantly flatter us.
Silence is simple – it simply just is. Noise comes to us in all sorts – smart phones, social media, screens of all types, crappy music at parties, the ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’ that come from our mouths.
Silence is a true friend. We live in a society where we need it but are neglecting it like never before. Why do we need it? Why do we need to spend more time with silence? What important lessons does it teach us all?
Silence reminds us of the importance of listening
In an age where the aim is to be more increasingly social, we are lacking the basic social skill of learning to listen.
In the words of Stephen R. Covey in his book The Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, he writes:
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
After attending a forum discussing the behaviours of people when using social media, one of the striking points of discussion was that it was a platform where people had the freedom to type whenever they want, however long they wanted and with the speed and frequency of their choice, that it got to an extent where they were more interested in what their opinion was rather than paying attention to what the other person had to say.
True story. I find online debates over politics and such so counter-productive. There is no moderation with the flow of conversation.
The problem is that we are bringing our online habits of conversation into real life conversations, hindering our ability to listen.
Noise is not interested in listening. Noise is interested in noise, and is concerned with its own ego and gratification. However, the more the ego asserts itself, the more miserable it becomes.
“And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening”
– The Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel
Silence reveals to us the truth about ourselves
Deep down, ask yourself why?
Why the sudden influx of music festivals? The protests to keep the night clubs open for longer in countries where curfews have been intact?
Why the crappy, derogatory rap music at parties? Why the compulsive need to have earphones glued to our ears with music on maximum blast in between our schedules?
Why the need to habitually scroll on social media network sites? The impulse to look at your phone screens where you seemingly find yourself alone in a crowd-setting?
The useless and annoying ‘ums’, ‘ahs’ and ‘likes’ in between our sentences? WHY?
We spend so much time with our so-called friend, Noise. Noise wards of our ability to be honest, which means to be our intimate self. Perhaps, it is ourselves that we are afraid of? As well as revealing ourselves as we really are to others.
No one really actually cares about what music is playing in the background at a party but if the music were to all of a sudden cease, people find it highly awkward and uncomfortable.
What’s the one question that is taken for granted the most? I would it say it is ‘How are you?’ People ask us this question blindly and robotically but we respond in the same blind and robotic manner – ‘good’. Are we really just … ‘good’?
Perhaps the response ‘good’ and the question ‘how are you?’ are used to avoid silence, because it reveals to us the truth about ourselves.
“Even in the most beautiful music there are some silences, which are there so we can witness the importance of silence.”
– Andrea Bocelli
SO… when was the last time you spent time with your friend, Silence?