It’s amidst the noise that I am reminded of my need for silence. I desperately gasp for air - a moment of peaceful bliss - and when I don’t find it, I begin to break down. First comes the feelings. The the anxiety, the anger, and the fear. Next to go are the brain functions. I loose my grip on reality and begin to slide towards the ever-looming pit of lunacy. Physical functions are the last to go. My body breaks down and the guard is lowered. I fall deeply ill; my body has broken down. Silence is the only cure.
Why, then, should we speak? If silence is the cure, then noise must be the disease. We can all embrace our thoughts and leave the ruckus behind. It seems, though, that things don’t work that way. Being alone is sometimes considered the worst form of torture, and for good reason. Without coming into contact with other people, a person will start to go crazy and begin to loose the ability to make intelligent decisions. The outcome is often worse than what happens to me amidst noise.
There must, then, be a happy medium. A place where there are people and there is energy to direct you towards sanity, but also silence in places where it is need. That must exist. Right? Probably not. Different things are needed at different times. Sometimes, it’s great to be on a sports team or with a group of energetic friends. The energy is exciting and fun. On the flip side, sometimes what is needed is - as I’ve mentioned a few times now - silence: time to think and to collect your thoughts. These two situations have one thing in common. One thing that can be true at every time and every place. Back to that later. For now, let’s take a look at some interesting Science.
Imagine two empty cans in a low-friction environment (such as sitting on top of a surface made of lined up colored pencils). The cans are right next to each other, about an inch apart. You have a straw, as well as a face. Take the straw and use it to blow between the two cans. What will happen?
Interestingly, when you blow, the cans move towards each other. (Feel free to actually try this.) By blowing between the cans, you cause all of the air to move in a single direction. The place where you blew now has air molecules moving all in the same direction: not towards the cans. On the other side of the cans is “normal” air. The molecules here are all moving in random directions, occasionally bouncing off of the cans and pushing them. Generally, there is an equal amount of air on either side of the cans, so they stay in place. However, without air hitting the cans on the side where you blew, the force is not counteracted and the cans collide. This is called Bernoulli’s Principle.
Back to our situations. We have situation one: the loud friends, and situation two: complete and utter silence. Neither seems ideal. Both will make a person crazy, and they are each better in different situations. Fortunately, there is a third option. Instead of loud chaos or complete silence, we can have directed conversation. We can speak about things that are both interesting and important, fun and useful. Instead of creating noise, let’s create meaningful and directed conversation; let’s create art.
Back, again, to science. There’s an interesting analogy presenting itself. Silence is a vacuum - a place without noise. If we were to place our cans in a vacuum, nothing much would happen. They would pretty much sit there. Next let’s place them in an air-filled environment. They are surrounded by craziness and chaos, but, alas, nothing much happens there either. But if we create meaningful and intentional strokes - movement that matters - we can bring the cans together. We can bring people together.
The point is this: Instead of creating noise, and instead of being silent, why not initiate conversations that are both meaningful and interesting? That wasn’t so hard.