Saturday, 6 December 2014

642 Things - The Sound of Silence

     What is the sound of silence, and when did you last hear it? What was missing?

The sound of silence - blank music score with notes piled up below
(Source)
     Silence: (noun) Complete absence of sound (as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary).

     Silence has no sound, yet somehow we can still hear it. Or perhaps we don’t hear it, perhaps we only notice the absence of everything else. Silence is neither loud nor quiet, simple because it is not there at all. Silence is nothing; it is an example of humans ascribing a concrete noun to an abstract, invisible, immaterial idea. It can only be defined as the antithesis of something else, as it has no meaning on its own, without relation to sound. Silence can make the world seem still, tranquil, peaceful, or uncomfortable, awkward, deafening.

     How often do you experience complete silence? We can get pretty close sometimes; but there’s probably always going to be a car driving past outside, a bird chirping its song, a gust of wind whistling against the window. City life, especially, makes it difficult to find total silence, as there are always people around doing something. The countryside can be quieter, but nature and animals still produce noises too. The truth is, the absence of sound is not a far cry away from the absence of life. When there is no sound, there is no sense of life around us; it can be an extremely lonely situation to experience.

     Even when we don’t talk, we make sounds when we move, even when we breathe. To lose all of these, would make us practically dead. Imagine a world without the laughter of children, without raindrops on your window, without whispered secrets, without puppies barking with glee, without Christmas sleigh bells, without music. What a dull, lifeless world it would be. Silence can be good for removing distractions, allowing for tranquility and introspective reflection. Often silence is better than talking on and on about nothing, for no reason. But to stay like that forever, would remove so many of life’s pleasures. Everything would become monotonous, all alike, and eventually mind-numbingly boring. Sound allows us to communicate, to express, to react and to feel. Sound is a part of life.

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