Lorraine’s comment about people being frightened of silence has been rolling around in my noggin ever since she commented on my “Hang Up and Drive” post. Is it part of the human condition that we feel the need for constant buzz in the ear or is it a result of the Industrial/Technological Revolution?
Because our modern lives are filled with so much noise, silence can be unnerving. It emphasizes our loneliness, regardless how transitory, and turns our focus to our inner demons or thoughts that prey upon our mind. The noise tends to cancel out that sort of thing whereas silence can make us edgy and even seem malevolent. Silence is even referred to as “dead.”
I was reminded again of Lorraine’s comment this morning as I was shopping. It is not enough that people feel the need to have the television on at home, the radio on in the car or to be yakking on the cell phone, they need to be entertained while shopping. While strolling through Goodwill in Gig Harbor this morning the staff seemed to be having difficulty getting the radio on station or the needle in the groove (do I date myself?) and it started to drive me crazy. Compared to the snap, crackle and pop of their audio system, the silence truly seemed golden. I wanted to scream, “It’s okay, I can take the silence!”
Why is it that we can’t stand the silence? Why do we feel the need to be constantly distracted from what we’re doing? I am as guilty as the next person feeling the constant need to have the radio on. In case of a storm it is even more important to me to have a battery operated radio going. Is this some Cold War hold over from the fear of being the last person alive in the world or am I just unhappy with whom I am alone with in the silence?
Does silence frighten you?