Why people are afraid of silence

I’m sitting in the train car Moscow-Petersburg. I came before other passengers, and now I watch them enter the car, find their places, undress and stuff their bags and bags into the luggage compartments, and in general, do their best. All of them, especially the young ones, are charged with one rhythm, one energy that splashes in them, overflows, splashes in-jokes, laughter, energetic movements.

But everyone was seated, the mourners left the car, and the train slowly began to move and gradually picked up speed. And then something begins to happen for me that is incomprehensible. Something funny and somewhat alarming.

Once alone with himself and his stillness, which dictates your position as a passenger in a numbered and very limited place, passengers, as if on command, climb into bags, pockets, pull out mobile phones and stick into them.

It looks strange. Either funny or scary.

The psychosis is gaining strength and the majority starts to call someone and tell them that they are already on the train and are already on their way. Then, when the collective call is over, the owners of mobile phones sit for a while quite meaninglessly staring at the screens and clinging to their toys as a rescue ring. Someone has a game running around here, and some do not, but you have to keep doing something, participate in the “active life”, in a word to be yourself, otherwise …

Otherwise, we risk remaining in silence.

So why are we so afraid of peace and quiet? Why do we feel uncomfortable when we are alone with ourselves.

Why is it so desperately uncomfortable when life gives us such an opportunity?

Recently reissued a remarkable book by the Belgian writer Maurice Metterlink, the same one whose play about the Bluebird still runs on many stages of the world. The book is called “The Treasure of the Humble,” and it has another story about the train.

About how two passengers, being in one compartment, begin to feel incomprehensible discomfort from silence and stillness. Mobile was not yet there, and so both rush to make a conversation. Which is not important. The most empty and insignificant – just not to stay in this very silence, of which they are afraid, just not to be silent.

What is going on here? “They are afraid of being alone with a quiet truth about themselves,” the writer says. “Truth is silent,” he continues, “and it’s quite scary to be alone with yourself. Why? Yes, because we are frankly boring and painfully uninteresting to ourselves and we need another to escape our own worthlessness and emptiness. This is in the first place.

And secondly, who said that we need the truth about ourselves and about the world, who said that we so crave to hear its quiet, not knowing beginning and end presence, uniting the whole world with its beauty and creative power – both the stars and trees and the sea and your neighbor on travel? Sometimes, in verse, in music or in moments of love, her presence flashes, she will smile at you with a magic smile, she will flash an unseen picture, that’s enough, and that’s enough.

But do not we live in truth, not in reality? – we ask ourselves. And I say no. For the most part, we run away from it without noticing it.



Let’s think a little. A little bit.

We communicate with each other and the world by 90 percent with the help of intellect. We talk with others, book tickets, ask for directions, write essays, take exams, etc. and so on – all this is intelligence, a good thing, but limited.

Now we ask ourselves – in what time does it exist? And we will have to answer that in the past. Because the intellect is just a memory, it is a memory of the information accumulated in the past. And that’s why when I rely on intellect – and I do this most of the day – I, well, cannot be in the “now and here” point, where the event itself is located, the very reality itself. Because I am in the intellect, and he is in the past, in what has passed, what now is gone.

In a word, I’m in what is not, I’m in some virtual space, cleverly detached from the one that exists in reality. In this virtual pause, a lot of things are spinning – the multiplication table, the memory of the get-togethers, the recent conversation, the rules of behavior, the motive BG, the belief that Britney Spears – sucks, the memory of my grievances or joys, the TV program, etc. And while I communicate with another, I turn on my memory, my virtual, and the other feeds it with my virtual.

Therefore, psychologists say that people hear the interlocutor by about 5-7 percent. The rest, 95 percent – their own thoughts.

afraid of silence
afraid of silence

Therefore, I say that we all are most of the time inside a large virtual machine (without any electronic “Matrix”), which we ourselves create. And it suits us all (almost all) – that’s what is amazing.

Moreover – after sitting on the bustle, like a needle, we barely bear the silence and stillness. And if we’re in silence, we’ll come to the rescue with a mobile phone, headphones, or a pocket computer …

Silence has one interesting property. It pulls a person out of memory, from the past, from the virtual, from the confusion of thoughts and feelings, and strives to put it in a situation “here and now”, in a situation of reality.

Silence seeks to return the man his right to be, offering to refuse for a moment from the requirement to “have”. I remember walking on Nevsky one day, thinking about ten things at once, and suddenly there was a silence, and through me and the street and people around me soundless music started, and the world acquired depth, mystery and meaning, and through me Life itself flowed, and nothing I no longer needed these seconds. “Let only this remain,” I muttered, “everything else is not important, even if it remains.” Because it was happiness from which I cried. And I put on sunglasses, so as not to frighten passers-by with their incomprehensible happiness. Silence enveloped me then, and I – woke up, and I – saw.

Reread Pushkin’s poem “The Prophet” – it’s about it. About how you find yourself in reality, larger than every day, wrapped, noisy, tortured and programmed.

“In silence, God utters his word,” said another poet. In silence, the meaning of our life is created, and we meet with ourselves with secret and joy. And maybe, once hearing a word about ourselves in silence, we will not want to part with it anymore, because this is a way out of the shallow waters of the Ocean of Life, and the best of its islands we still have to open.

Why people are afraid of silence
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