Monday, May 3, 2010

Left alone with your thoughts

Theodore Dalrymple:
.... Does silence really have no moral qualities, no intellectual advantages, no significance for the deepening of character? Of course, every person is inclined to indulge in special pleading on behalf of his own tastes, such as mine for silence; that is to say, to think that his own tastes are conducive to some higher end or good. ....

I know that many people now claim that they cannot concentrate unless there is a television flickering in the background and rock or rap insinuating itself into their ear; but I would not be telling the truth if I said that I believed it. It seems more likely that such people do not know what to concentrate really is.

More than the effect on concentration, however, I fear the effect of constant noise on the development of human inwardness. I find it difficult to believe that those who live in constant noise can ever reflect very deeply upon anything. Their taste for noise, that becomes almost a physiological need for them since they grow anxious without it, seems to me to bespeak a fear of being left alone with their own thoughts. .... [more]
Silence, PLEASE — Features — In Character, A Journal of Everyday Virtues by the John Templeton Foundation