Monday, March 23, 2015

The Sound of Silence

This post is about something I've wanted to write about for a long time now. But it is only when I was riding on a bike as pillion did I finally know how to express it without the use of obtuse ideas and thoughts. 

Most people believe Silence is a vacuum that needs to be filled with words and noises. They go to extraordinary lengths to replace this lack of sound. It makes them awkward and nervous. A cacophony of clamor is better than the quietude of some peace. But why do we hate silence, why do we feel it's necessary to yak about bullshit in order to be comfortable? NO don't answer, that was rhetorical. See what I have to deal with?!

Deliberate and powerful use of silence can be intimidating. Here's one neat trick, next time you ask someone a question and they don't answer it completely, wait patiently. They are bound to finish the whole thing. Well, either that or you come off as the weirdo who stops talking to people midway during a conversation. Nevertheless, my point is, silence is not a tool to make others around you feel uncomfortable. Nobody wants to talk with someone who uses cheap parlor tricks to amp up an air of intimidation.

Ever wonder why Martin Scorsese movies have so many silent scenes? They highlight the loud ones. Because when everything is loud, nothing is. Here is something esoteric a friend of mine told me:
"It is often best to speak only if your words have the potential to
be more meaningful than the silence they displace."

Being the hapless contrarian that I am, at the time I didn't agree completely. But after giving it some thought, I've come to understand and realize how true what she said was. Extended periods of silence are not awkward, they're blissful if used sparingly and with mutual understanding. Not a lot is more powerful than two people enjoying the company of each other in complete silence. Silence is a state of mind.

There are friends I haven't spoken to for weeks and months. But that does not take away from the times I have. It is merely an unsaid acknowledgement that we can talk to each other when we want to, and by choice. Not an obligation or a sense of social duty.

When you derive silence from your frame of mind, you get something more than silence – an emotional response. We don't appreciate silence a lot, until we start noticing the lack of it. Silence is an emotion of its own, and depending on how you use it, a way to take a break from the chaotic sensory overload that follows us.
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zacharythefirst said...

I liked it a lot! Especially this sentence:

"A cacophony of clamor is better than the quietude of some peace"
The imagery is really cool.

"But why do we hate silence, why do we feel it's necessary to yak about bullshit in order to be comfortable?"
Personally I don't think it was necessary to swear and you might want to edit it out, but that's your stylistic choice.

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