There is a beauty in silence. A profound tranquility that comes upon us as we sit out among nature, or hide away in our secret cloister. This silence is one that must be sought after. Striven for. Found. It does not come to us unbidden any longer. There is too much noise. Too much clutter. Too many competing points of view bidding for our time.
News. Music. Emails. Texts. Calls. I can see the Grinch in my head with drum sticks beating on each side, and “Noise, noise, noise, noise…” ringing in my own eardrums. But the reality is that we can’t stand the silence and we augment our world to fill in the gaps in sound, perhaps afraid of that awkward pause in conversation.
The profound truth is that no matter how much noise I can take in… none of it helps me connect. Connection can only happen in the quiet moments. Connecting with one’s self or connecting with a loved one. All attempts to use the tools of “connection” are merely hollow copies of the real thing, much the way watching a travel log of the Alps can not replace actually traveling to the Alps.
More and more we subjugate our relations to electronic go-betweens. And more and more those relationships lose their color and fade. I am complicit in this subjugation, however. Do not get me wrong. I do not seek to pass the blame. I find it easy to relate via email. My own discomfort with my own skin makes the electronic barrier an easier means with which to relate.
It avoids all that bloody and messy reality of looking someone in the eye and knowing, with absolute fact, that you are wrong. Or right. Or just profoundly different in the way that you think. Because this difference is what causes us to feel like we are the only people on Earth that think the way we do. And that thought is a lonely one.
But this way of living also avoids that deep and knowing connection that is only possible in person, whether it be a secret moment of divine bliss with a lover, or a moment of existential connectivity on a deep thought.
But too often we give up the beauty of reality for a misguided attempt to water down the pain of being separate. And we fill our lives with noise so we can avoid that utter sense of loneliness which is often found in the silence.
And the joke is thus complete, because only in the silence can we find ourselves… and in so finding ourselves can we find the connection to others.