In Praise of Quiet

Here’s an essay about the benefits of silence: “Freedom from noise and goal-directed tasks, it appears, unites the quiet without and within, allowing our conscious workspace to do its thing, to weave ourselves into the world, to discover where we fit in. That’s the power of silence.”

Finland is apparently marketing silence to boost tourism, and according to the author of said essay, the strategy is working. It’s no wonder; in a world oversaturated with combustion engines, cell phones, and talking heads, silence is an ever more precious commodity. When’s the last time, while awake, that you’ve enjoyed even five minutes of absolute quietness?

And speaking of which, here is an essay on “What five minutes of silence can do for your brain“. According to the author: “We are in an age where there is no solitude at all and if there were any we’d grab for our phones to make sure there wasn’t any. Whether you’re in the camp who believes it our not, the pace at which we live our lives and the amount of things we try to pay attention to at once are major recipes for stress, anxiety, depression, and addictive behaviors.”

While I don’t think meditation is going to save the rainforest, I think some quiet reflection certainly couldn’t hurt, individual-happiness-wise—especially considering that our culture is so disorienting and loud and cluttered with the insignificant. I myself meditate once a week, and mostly it’s a restful hour spent reminding myself that things are okay, relatively speaking.

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