👋 Hey phi-lazy-phers
If you’ve ever meditated for even a few minutes, you’ve likely heard the ongoing symphony of thoughts bouncing around the walls of your head. By purposely creating the space to experience silence around us, we’re given the opportunity to listen more closely to ourselves.
There will be a future issue on meditation, but let’s see what others have said about the importance of silence in our lives.
Norman Vincent Peale
Silence fertilizes the deep place where personality grows. A life with a peaceful center can weather all storms.
I believe it's possible for everyone to discover [the] silence within themselves. It is there all the time, even when we are surrounded by constant noise. Deep down in the ocean, below the waves and ripples, you can find your internal silence. Standing in the shower, letting the water wash over your head, sitting in front of a crackling fire, swimming across a forest lake or taking a walk over a field: all these can be experiences of perfect stillness too.
Language can only deal meaningfully with a special, restricted segment of reality. The rest, and it is presumably the much larger part, is silence.
Listen to the silence. It has much to say.
Soon silence will have passed into legend. Man has turned his back on silence. Day after day he invents machines and devices that increase noise and distract humanity from the essence of life, contemplation, meditation. Tooting, howling, screeching, booming, crashing, whistling, grinding, and trilling bolster his ego.
Sue Patton Thoele
Only in the oasis of silence can we drink deeply from the inner cup of wisdom.
Not many years ago, it was access to information and movement that seemed our greatest luxury; nowadays it’s often freedom from information, the chance to sit still, that feels like the ultimate prize. Stillness is not just an indulgence for those with enough resources – it’s a necessity for anyone who wishes to gather less visible resources.
To be silent is not to lose your tongue. On the contrary, it is only through silence that one can discover something new to talk about. One who talked incessantly, without stopping to look and listen, would repeat himself ad nauseam.
If we were not so single-minded about keeping our lives moving, and for once could do nothing, perhaps a huge silence might interrupt this sadness of never understanding ourselves and of threatening ourselves with death. Perhaps the earth can teach us as when everything seems dead and later proves to be alive.
Which paths lead to silence? Certainly trips into the wild. Leave your electronics at home, take off in one direction until there’s nothing around you. Be alone for three days. Don’t talk to anyone. Gradually you will rediscover other sides of yourself.
Nothing has changed the nature of man so much as the loss of silence.
Silence may seem like an impossible thing to experience if you have children, loud neighbors, or a significant other who snores as though sleeping were a competition. But as the first quote from Erling Kagge mentions, we can find our inner silence in many different situations if we look for it.
Speaking of Erling, I highly recommend his book, Silence: In the Age of Noise, as it’s one of my all-time favorites. Although, if you’re anything like me, you may find yourself wanting to ditch everything in order to move to a cabin in the mountains & fjords of Norway after finishing the book.
In case you’re looking for more practical ways to experience silence, you can always add this actual song by composer John Cage (titled 4’33”) to a playlist guaranteeing you’ll get at least 4 minutes & 33 seconds of “silence” in your day.
✌️Until next week, happy philosophizing.
Philosophy Phocus: Existentialism