Week 4: Silence
“Nature spoke to me in the guise of Silence. The quieter I became, the more I heard. Each time I stopped for a break, if the wind was not blowing I experienced a deafening silence.
I walked alone to the South Pole, and in that whole of monotone landscape there was no human apart from the sounds I made. Alone on the ice, far into that great white nothingness, I could both hear and feel the silence.”
- Erling Kagge
I hope you are enjoying your days!
This week I wanted us to talk about one of my most favourite topics, the Silence.
I was passing by an art gallery the other day - “Lets go to the shop for a minute”, I said, “I want to see what they have” - a considerable amount of time later, I leave the shop with a book called Silence: In the Age of Noise! by Erling Kagge.
Kagge is a Norwegian explorer who was the first in history to reach the ‘three poles’ - North, South and the summit of Everest - he experienced extreme periods of silence with the longest being fifty days. This book is basically his thirty-three attempts to answer three questions - ‘What is Silence? Where can it be found? Why is it more important now than ever?’.
I am not going to write a book review and I am not going to go through Kagge’s explanations, observations and examples in detail. I just wanted to share three concepts that stood out to me.
The first one is that silence speaks, weird I know, considering that the definition of silence is the complete absence of sound.
But, think of the importance of the pause in a play or a music piece, the pause is there for a purpose, to create tension, to prepare you for what is to follow. The pause is part of the narrative, of the conversation. So, the pause (or the silence - the absence of sound), it kind of speaks!
Think of those times you stood in front of a painting or a photograph - in silence. In reality though, there was no silence, there was a conversation between you and the artist. The artist was saying something to you through her work and you were there responding to that. Again, there was no sound, yet there was a conversation.
Think of all those times you were in front of the sink washing dishes or when you were having a shower or when you were taking a long walk and as of magic you have the best idea ever or an answer to something that it was bothering you for weeks.
So, silence may not have a sound but it definitely speaks.
The second one is the fear of silence.
The way I see it is like we - as the human social creatures we are - see silence as this empty box that we have to fill in with something - with music, images, sounds, words, people - it is this nothing that we have to turn into something otherwise we get bored and sad.
It seems that we would do anything to avoid being in our presence, it is like we are afraid of getting to know ourselves better.
But instead of being afraid, shouldn’t we seek these moments of silence? Shouldn’t we just try to get to know ourselves better, instead of avoiding it?
I personally think we should. These moments are so rare, nowadays. We should just chase and cherish these moments.
And that leads us to the last one, silence lies within us.
Silence is something that we create, something that we carry with us, wherever we are. You can be in the most remote, quiet place on this planet and not to be able to experience silence in the same way you can experience it in the busiest, most crowded city in the world.
There is no one way to experience silence. You just need to find your own way.
Maybe just sit and allow yourself to breathe for a second, maybe just write all your thoughts on a piece of paper - you don’t even have to read what you wrote afterwards - just clear your mind from the unnecessary noise, turn off your phone, go for a walk on your own, talk to no-one for some time.
And, be sure that silence lies within you, you don’t have to go all the way to the South Pole.
Kagge says, “I had to use my legs to go far away in order to discover this, but I now know it is possible to reach silence anywhere. One only need to subtract. You have to find your own South Pole.”
Once again easier said than done, but I truly believe, that silence has these amazing superpowers, it has this magic ability to help us understand ourselves a little bit more, it gives us answers that we cannot get with our thinking mind and it makes us better humans for the sake of us and of those around us!
And somewhere here, I think I will just stop!:) Let me know your thoughts on silence, how do you lock the noise out, does it scare you or do you seek silence?
And before you go, remember to share and like, if you liked!
Thank You for Being Here!
P.S.: I will be here once a week!
Silence speaks. Just listen,
Seek silence. Don’t be afraid of it.
Silence lies within us.
In the book Kagge also mentions an experiment where Arthur Aron, a psychologist, was able to make complete strangers fall in love in his lab. The experiment includes 36 questions and it ends with both participants sitting and looking into each other eyes without saying a word for up to four minutes. Wait, what?!
Anyway… the journalist Mandy Len Catron tried this and wrote an article about it in the New York Times.
Among other things she writes:
“I’ve skied steep slopes and hung from a rock face by a short length of rope, but staring into someone’s eyes for four silent minutes was one of the more thrilling and terrifying experiences of my life.”
To read the whole article click To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This
And if you try this, let me know!:)