All the forces at play within us and without seem to be centrifugal forces, pulling us apart. I remain interested in understanding the nature of these forces. The critical conversation remains important. But I’m increasingly interested in how we might find and deploy alternative ways of being in the world. What are the practices that will sustain us? Silence may be just such a practice, and we may do well to experiment with whatever possibilities are afforded to us to enter into silence and to allow silence to enter into us.
Words that merely come from other words are hard and aggressive,” he counsels. “Such words are also lonely, and a great part of the melancholy in the world today is due to the fact that man has made words lonely by separating them from silence.” “Words that merely come from other words.” Are these not the words we are now most likely to encounter given the immediacy, intensity, and scale of our digital milieu? Words that have not passed through silence, silence which might nurture mutual comprehension and considered responses, but have rather emerged reactively and kinetically, even violently, from other words.
Having had over the last few months the occasion almost daily to sit in silence for a few brief moments, I came to describe the experience as the feeling of silence carving away at my interiority like a sculptor chipping away at stone, as if silence were stripping me of all that was not essential.
that silence is what Picard called an autonomous reality, it is something of itself and not merely a negation, and, critically, that it is part of the nature of silence to be a vital, renewing force from whose absence we suffer more than we know.
the human-built world is already unaligned to human values and well-being because it operates at a scale and according to a logic that elude our comprehension and confound our agency. And this is so largely because it exists beyond the reach of ordinary language. The realm of speech, specifically its public and thus political quarters, increasingly becomes the realm of exasperating and maddening futility. And we may all be forgiven for feeling as if we are the idiots whose words, however full of sound and fury, finally signify nothing, and, more to the point, effect no change in the world.