Thursday, 16 February 2017

An Inferno of Noise

Humankind is to be congratulated. With much sacrifice, much ingenuity, we have painstakingly created for ourselves an inferno of noise. 

There is a din that greets us when we’re born. It ushers us out when we die. And in the days and nights between, that relentless, unceasing clamour is always with us, even in the sanctity of our homes—the noisy world slips in as we close the door and it hounds us even as we try to sleep.

And it is not only the literal noise of our age. Worse, yet, is the noise of anxiety and fear, the noise of hurry and haste. It is the noise of all the endless demands for our attention, our thoughts, our—souls.

And the result of all this noise? The result is that we hardly ever hear ourselves, hardly know ourselves, and live lives that are anonymous even unto ourselves. The world whirls faster and faster and faster, and we are spun, in the depths of the cacophony, into the deepest silence.

True enough that all this noise, this incessant doing, making, earning, losing and winning, it doesn’t bother everyone. Some would even be terrified at the prospect of a world so still, so quiet, they might actually hear their own minds, discover their own thoughts, contemplate the absurdity of their own existence.

What was it that Pascal said, that the eternal silence of the infinite spaces terrified him? Precisely.

And yet, and yet, some there are who would hear their own voices, whatever the cost. And, for that matter, however banal, trivial, mundane or inconsequential the utterances their voices speak to them might happen to be. But that’s beside the point. It is not profundity that is at issue here. No, what is at issue is simply this—the possibility of being meaningfully alive.

Thy will be done. (But only if thy voice is heard.)

If you cannot hear your voice, you cannot hear your will. If you cannot hear your will, you cannot—be.

It may be an illusion that our wills have been liberated from the bonds that hold the physical world in subjection. But it is a precious illusion nonetheless, and one which is difficult to maintain if our own voices are never heard above the din.


  1. A beautiful piece of soul-searching. Thank you.

  2. And thank you, in turn, I appreciate it.