What is Silence? Silence is the absence of noise. Not just your typical noise the city makes, but noise aimed your mind: newspapers, TV, computers, books. The absence of these outside stimuli force you to look within and listen to your inner voice. Rather than reacting to whatever it is that’s coming from without, your thoughts will originate from within.

What value is your mind if all it does is react to what others have said or done? In the Age of Noise, silence is something to be shunned, to be destroyed, to be drowned in Soma. But with the destruction of silence comes the destruction of the mind. No, staying plugged-in to today’s media engine won’t make you stupid–what it will do is take away your self.

The problem didn’t exist a hundred years ago, the technology just wasn’t there. Just like obesity that comes with food abundance, we’ve now got attention deficiency that comes with the rise of attention draining technologies and products. The products themselves have value, just like food, but there is a limit to how much you can take before they become harmful.

Instead of thinking of silence as the enemy, think of it as a most valuable resource and a friend. Instead of shunning silence, shun the myriad of apps and devices that splinter your day into ever more pieces and fill it with ever more noise. The noisemakers don’t care about your time or your mind, it’s your attention they crave–but surrender that, and you surrender the rest.

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“For even falsehood, uttered by the tongue of man, seemed like truth and light before this hopelessly-deaf and unresponsive silence.”

My new book: a translation of selected short stories by Leonid Andreyev, the father of Russian Expressionism from the Silver Age of Russian literature. A piercing, pitiless glance into the heart of the human condition.

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Further Reading

Proust wrote that the true voyage of discovery is not to visit strange lands, but to possess other eyes, to behold a hundred universes that each of them beholds. Thus, in the words of Ruskin, what good books give us is not mere knowledge, but sight.

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