“The Sound of Silence”

 

Silence is something that I’m grateful to have, especially in a world that is getting noisier and noisier by the day. Some weeks ago while drying my clothes at my local laundromat, I decided to skateboard down this street that I always passed by but never bothered to explore. Down this path I stumbled upon a yacht shipyard and various beautiful houses, not to mention that it was simply quiet in this area even though Downtown St. Pete was a couple of minutes away.

 

But little did I know the greatest treasure I’d soon discover, and that was a beach shore with an elegant view of St. Petersburg in all her glory. I was simply dumbfounded by the fact that there existed this place right next to my home that I had no idea about. My first instinct was to tread across the green field that led to the shore so that I could drink this experience in. It was simply wonderful, it felt as though the monotony and drama of human society seemed to just dissolve like an Alka-Seltzer.

 

I was at a loss for words, the only thing I could do in that moment was look out at the great expanse of ocean, it was so serene that tears began to run down my face. That moment made me realize that sometimes man with all our ideas, opinions, philosophies, and arguments should just shut the f*** up in the face of the beauty and mystery that is life (Excuse my French). It makes me wonder what life would be like without human speech, similar to how The Legend of Zelda is known for having little to no voice-overs.

 

I’m grateful to be a human being but honestly there are times when I’m simply annoyed with our lot (myself included), not to be misanthropic but many of us can agree that humanity is one heck of a dramatic creation. I can imagine some other creation watching us like a movie, one of the longest movies they’ll ever watch with every conceivable genre rolled into one like a burrito.

 

Human affairs is like a circus, and just like a circus it can get loud and boisterous. Sometimes we need silence, it clears our minds of the many streams of dialogue and ideas that enters it on a daily basis. I’ve always been a lover of early mornings and evenings simply because those are times when the beast is sleep. An excellent way to grind my gears is to blast music early in the morning when I’m trying to simply be at peace. In a world of political discord, reality “tell-a-lie vision”, Youtube, Internet, gossip, music, waking up in Bugattis, rapping about threesomes, mudslinging, f***ing Jim Sterling son, it seems as though we can’t escape the noise (You know I’m thankful to God for you Jim).

 

For all the knowledge that we have as a creation, we really don’t know anything but merely discover what’s already there. On January 24, 1936, Albert Einstein wrote a response to a sixth grader’s letter that was sent to him at Princeton on January 19, 1936, asking him whether scientists pray and if so what for. His response is as follows:

 

I have tried to respond to your question as simply as I could. Here is my answer. Scientific research is based on the idea that everything that takes place is determined by laws of nature, and therefore this holds for the actions of people. For this reason, a research scientist will hardly be inclined to believe that events could be influenced by prayer, i.e. by a wish addressed to a supernatural Being. However, it must be admitted that our actual knowledge of these laws is only imperfect and fragmentary, so that, actually, the belief in the existence of basic all-embracing laws in Nature also rests on a sort of faith. All the same this faith has been largely justified so far by the success of scientific research. But, on the other hand, every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe—a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble. In this way the pursuit of science leads to a religious feeling of a special sort, which is indeed quite different from the religiosity of someone more naive.

(Dukas, Helen, and Banesh Hoffmann. Albert Einstein, The Human Side: New Glimpses From His Archives. Princeton University Press, 1979. Print.)

 

I may not be a scientist but in a way part of being one means being receptive to the mysteries of nature. To come to the fact that we don’t know everything and that our theories and ideas are imperfect such as my philosophy that life is the original game, also similar to how scientists moved on from the classical view of the universe to a quantum mechanical one but still retaining the former’s use in specific areas. Life is our teacher and that holds true even for scientist.

 

These days quite a number of us (myself included) tend to do a lot of talking and not a lot of listening and yet listening is as crucial as talking. Listening is a form of receiving while talking is a form of giving. Listening is a critical aspect not only in relationships but also science, business, politics, AAA game development, medicine, and many other fields. I recently listened to a podcast from Excellence-Expected.com where the host Mark Asquith interviewed Brenton Hayden, an entrepreneur that is the founder of the company Renters Warehouse.

 

In the interview Brenton talked about how a salesperson should not have the heart of a salesperson but the heart of an educator. To be able to listen to a customer’s needs so that you can put more value in their life with whatever product you’re selling. This took a load off my chest for the reason that I knew sales is an essential skill to have in modern society, but I wanted to utilize it in a way that is ethical and ultimately satisfies not only me but the customer more importantly.

 

One who doesn’t listen is like one who is blind, it’s as if there’s a dynamic at play between giving and receiving. If you can’t listen to someone’s story, their needs and desires, then you won’t be able to truly connect with anyone. If you are a scientist and are not receptive to nature, then your theories to a degree will be disconnected from it. If a couple can’t listen to each other, then how do they expect to understand how the other feels? This applies everywhere whether you’re making Youtube anime analyses, raising siblings, reading a great book, etc.

 

I know I want to do more listening and less talking in my own life, funnily enough I also like not hearing myself speak. Of course noise is an important aspect of our world, it functions as a transmitter of information whether you get a notification on your smartphone or hearing rain pelt down on your roof. Listening is more than just tuning in to what someone says or listening to the radio, it’s an act of opening yourself up to receive information. This couldn’t be any more relevant with regards to my friendship with a certain someone at my job. I’m one to admit that I have the tendency to think too much; overthinking can keep me from giving my undivided attention to anyone, especially someone that I desire to connect with.

 

It took going to that treasured spot that I’d found to really knock me out of my typical rhythm, in other words silence is what I needed to give my being some rest. How often do we give ourselves permission to just sit in silence or go out in nature to quiet our minds? I know I needed it, it felt as though that was something missing from my life. Just as we should listen to those around us, so too should we allow ourselves to simply listen to the sound of silence, to receive that which isn’t spoken but simply is.

 

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