Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Plea for Silence

"One of the most lamentable aspects of modern life is the disappearance of silence. Throughout most of human history, silence has been a part of life. Many individuals lived a significant portion of their lives in silence, working in solitude and untroubled by the intrusion of constant noise."
This is how Al Mohler starts his recent blog post on the issue of silence. He reminds us the need for silence amongst the constant noise of our culture today. He quotes Susan HIll, from Standpoint, explaining the reason many of us might be scared of it:
"...In adapting to constant noise, we seem to have become afraid of silence. Why? Are we afraid of what we will discover when we come face to face with ourselves there? Perhaps there will be nothing but a great void, nothing within us, and nothing outside of us either. Terrifying. Let's drown our fears out with some noise, quickly."
I think this is definitely a reason many of us run away from silence in our lives. And I believe it's a discipline that we ought to be better at engaging in.

Towards the end of his post, Mohler directs his attention towards children, and the dangers of allowing them to be constantly inundated with noise. He quotes Susan Hill again as she explains:
"If children do not learn to focus and concentrate in a pool of quietness, their minds become fragmented and their temperaments irritable, their ability to absorb knowledge and sift it, grade it and evaluate it do not develop fully. Reading a book quietly, watching a raindrop slide slowly down a windowpane or a ladybird crawl up a leaf, trying to hear the sound of a cat breathing when it is asleep, asking strange questions, such as, "Where do all the colors go at night?" and speculating about the possible answers — all of these are best done in silence where the imagination can flourish and the intricate minutiae of the world around us can be examined with the greatest concentration."

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