Silence is unnatural: Make a Noise in the world


Silence is unnatural to humans. He/She begins life with a cry and ends it in stillness. In the interval, he/she does all he/she can do to make a noise in the world, and there are a few things of which he/she stands in more fear than of the absence of noise. Even his/her conversation is a desperate attempt to prevent a dreadful silence.

He/She knows that 90% of human conversation means no more than the buzzing of a fly, but he/she longs to join in the buzz, and to prove that he/she is a human and not a waxwork figure. The object of conversation is not, for the most part, to communicate ideas: it is to keep up the buzzing sound. Very few human beings join in a conversation in the hope of learning anything new. Some of them are content if they are merely allowed to go on making a noise into other people's ears, though they have nothing to tell them except that they have seen two or three new plays or that they had bad food in a Swiss hotel.

Many of us, indeed, do not enjoy conversation unless it is we ourselves who are making the most conspicuous noise. This, I think, is a vice in conversation, but has its origin in a natural hatred of silence. The young man/woman was so much afraid of silence that he/she dared not risk being silent about himself/herself lest a universal silence should follow. I f he/she failed as a talker, it was because he/she did not sufficiently realize that conversation should be not only a buzz but a sympathetic buzz. That is why the weather is so useful a subject. It brings people at once o an experience which is generally shared and enables them, as it were, to buzz on the same note. Reminiscences are the best conversation in the world for two; for they warm the heart and excite the brain. But the third person is all the more conscious of being out in the cold. A conversation of this kind is bad indeed, because it condemns the third person to the torture of compulsory silence.

We love noise more than we know, even when no other human being is present. When we go from town to live in the country we deceive ourselves if we think we are doing so in order to exchange noise for quietness. We go into the country, not in order to escape from noise, but in search of a different kind of noise. Sit in a country garden in May, and you will notice that the noise is continuous. The birds are very loquacious: the bees as inimical to silence as children. Cocks crow, hens cackle, dogs bark, sheep baa, cart wheels crunch, and the whole day passes in a succession of sounds which would drive us to distraction if we were really devotees of silence.

Noise is companionship, and I remember that, I as a child, liked even the ticking of a clock in the bedroom. Sometimes we speak of the silence of the grave, and without noise the world would be no better than a grave. To survive along upon its lifeless surface would be to be buried alive.

#humans #natural #conversation #talkingiscombatingdepression

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