The risk of silence
From July until October I have been releasing one small excerpt of my new book, Who Needs Words, on the first day of each month until publication. In the excerpt below, we think about the risk and opportunity of silence.
Today we are constantly bombarded by messages from all quarters. Our computers spew out e-mails, our phones clog up with voice and text messages, our journeys to work are surrounded by billboards advertising every kind of product. Were we but able to see it, the air around us is in fact a thick soup of data of every kind. Upwards of a billion text messages are exchanged in the UK every month alone. In such a noisy place, silence can be an act of defiance. The call to silence, a bit like the call from the ‘Go Slow’ campaign to slow down our busy lives, can seem like a very odd thing indeed. Go Slow began in Italy – a nation famed for the frenetic pace of its language and lifestyle. What began as a campaign about slow cooking and eating, spread to travel, communication and lifestyle. Since the movement began, London has now held its first Slow Down festival – encouraging citizens to slow down, talk less and listen more. As appealing as that might be to some, it still feels profoundly counter cultural. Conditioned as we are to noise and bustle, the alternative can fill us with dread
Who Needs Words can be pre-ordered from the Saint Andrew Press.