The more you know

Value of silence

From the home to the workplace, from the busy streets of a city to the nightlife in the historic center of a village: everywhere we feel the desire for silence grow. And even in the most modern solutions for sharing workspaces, coworking, now we are looking for furnishings and organization of spaces that guarantee intimacy and concentration linked to the absence of noise. Long live the silence, therefore, which has always been very celebrated even in the universe of art and literature.


I read a short text by the writer Andrea Bajani on silence, and I was struck by the poetic image of strength, value, that atmosphere which, put simply, translates above all into a lack of noise, perhaps the main prosthesis that accompanies the life of contemporary man. Bajani writes: “We should see how man treats the sea to get the salt out of it, and silence should also be divided into tubs. Extract it from the earth, vacuum it from the woods when it is night, collect it in buckets from the cellars…. We should do as we do with the sea, and after dividing the silence into pools, wait, knowing that the wait will be rewarded “. Of course it will be rewarded: silence gives us back, with enormous interest, many things, starting with health that is shaken and put at risk by the excess of noise.


The damage caused by excess noise can be many and not only affect physical health, but also our mental balance. Deafened, we lose lucidity and serenity. Silence, please. We need it like hotcakes: when the noise of the neighbors deafens us, when we are stopped at a traffic light (with red) and whoever comes behind honks with the horn, when we try to concentrate and we can’t because something disturbs our brain. How often, sometimes every day, we miss silence. It seems to us an unreachable, fragile and precious object, which we cannot grasp, surrounded as we are by noise. It is silence (other than useless therapies …) that allows us to relax, at the same time raising our thoughts and giving us moments of harmony with the world.


We all need silence. An essential good, such as oxygen to breathe and water to avoid dying of thirst. And instead we waste it in a daily orgy of sounds and noises, some inevitable and others instead the result only of bad habits. Dazed by great noises, think of those who have the misfortune of living in the area a few meters from the Ciampino airport runways, and of great violence, those suffered by citizens surrounded at night by the chaos of metropolitan nightlife. But also crushed by small sounds, those of the simplest gestures and habits, which, added up over a whole day, including night, immerse our life in the tunnel of a daily background noise, where silence disappears. The ringing of the cell phone, which maybe wakes you up as soon as you close your eyes on the train, the sound of a horn, at a traffic light, which signals the moment, just a fraction of a second, when the green light and the driver have clicked , or the motorcyclist, have no time to waste behind your back.


Excessive and useless noise suffocates our intimacy, our thoughts, as it reduces, think of the voices that overlap in a talk show, an idea and a project that concern the public sphere. The American constituents, when they gathered in the Independence Hall to write the Constitution of the United States of America, had the streets surrounding the site covered with earth. Even politics when it thinks, and must think in order to be effective, needs silence, and not the screams from a TV chicken coop.


The first waste related to the eclipse of silence concerns health. According to statistics from the World Health Organization, there were half a billion people with hearing problems in 2001, and by 2030 they will double. The causes? Work, traffic and fun. In practice, the noise that deafens us is no longer just a problem of pollution, the acoustic one that is sometimes neglected compared to the environmental one, but has turned into a virus that also overwhelms our free time, the space of the calendar that we dedicate to sleep, to pleasure, to vacation. To reflect, because thought needs silence and if noise spreads, it is very likely that our thoughts are also disordered and compulsive sounds.


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