Be prepared for a Big Rant. What has happened to silence? Why is it everywhere I go I am assaulted by sound? Every waiting room, whether at my doctor’s office, the dentist, even the service lounge at my auto mechanic’s shop, has a big TV screen tuned to everything from home repair shows to an endless stream of news babble.
I prefer to use my wait time productively, clearing off emails, getting caught up in reading or maybe even just letting my mind go blank. I can’t do it with the audio and visual input of streaming TV. My sympathy goes to the receptionist and other office workers who have to spend their entire work day with this barrage.
Why have we evolved into a species that abhors silence? I find that silence frees my mind. Some of my best, most creative solutions to vexing problems have come when I am in blank thought. The buried, the forgotten surface and bingo—the solution emerges.
My non-scientific research has on this topic (obtained by ranting to anyone who will listen) tells me that one cause of silence-abhorrence is the constant connection to mobile devices. Connection to email and social media creates a sense of action and stimulation that is directly counter to silence and inactivity. In a nutshell, some of my colleagues admit that silence makes them nervous and anxious, the acronym FOMO—Fear Of Missing Out—exemplifies that anxiety.
Please don’t drag me into your world of noise. Get headphones and leave me to my quiet contemplation. Better yet, experiment with spending some time without audio input. A few minutes of quiet will do more to settle your nerves than the noise of “late breaking news.” Or at least it will for me.