Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Need for Silence

Once, I would have watched the presidential debate, each and every one.  Once, I recorded them (on tape!) and made my students watched them--we then discussed the elements of argument present or not and wrote analytical essays.

That woman is no longer me.  I watched 15 minutes of the debate, and once the voices went up and the talking over each other started, I called it a night.

Once, I thought I needed to watch the debates to be informed, to be a good citizen.  This election, I don't feel I need the debates to tell me what I need to know.

If I had counted on last night's debate to get solid information, I don't know that I'd have gotten that.  Where was that moderator?  I'd like to see moderators have the power to cut the microphone when rules of good debating are ignored. 

I just don't have the patience for modern life, the shouting, the refusal to listen to each other to be able to find middle ground, the shouting.
This morning, I turned off the radio, and instead of rushing to fill the silence, I sat with it.

Later, I read this article by Andrew Sullivan, and this quote leapt out at me:  "The reason we live in a culture increasingly without faith is not because science has somehow disproved the unprovable, but because the white noise of secularism has removed the very stillness in which it might endure or be reborn."

The white noise in the context of his article is the ever-present stimulation of our phones and devices.  But the old-fashioned white noise of radios, TV, and words acts in much the same way.

I feel a need for silence, for stillness, after our hectic travel pace of the last week.  However, today is a day of many meetings.  But I often come up with interesting poem ideas on these days against that particular white noise.  Stay tuned!

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