All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.—Blaise Pascal
[one_half padding=”4px 10px 0 4px”]There’s something to be said for good, intelligent conversation. Almost everyone has at least one friend with whom they can sit and talk for hours and the conversation never become boring or argumentative or difficult. Those are people we respect, love, and enjoy having in our lives.
Then, there’s everyone else, the people who never shut the fuck up, who always must be speaking (usually about themselves), who never listen to anyone’s opinion other than their own, never let anyone else get a word in edge-wise, and never end a conversation on another’s statement. Those are the people whom we most often desire to meet an untimely but just demise, or at least wish they’d move to the other side of the planet. They don’t know how to be quiet.
Perhaps it was growing up in small, rural churches that taught me how to be quiet. When there are only 20-30 people in attendance, every little sound draws attention. Unlike churches today, where children are only seen in the main worship service for Baptisms and holiday pageants, we didn’t always have a nursery worker. I would have to sit in the congregation with my mother, which wasn’t easy on either one of us. The threat was always that if I wasn’t quiet and behaved during the service my butt was getting spanked when we got home. Damn, if I didn’t learn to be quiet![/one_half]
[one_half_last padding=”4px 4px 0 10px”]Ours was ever an especially rambunctious household, though. The four of us could easily go a couple of hours with no one saying anything. Momma would be reading or grading papers, Poppa would be immersed in the evening paper, I would be either practicing the piano or doing homework, while Squirt played quietly with his toys or sat watching television. Our house could be surprisingly quiet. Conversation occurred at the dinner table for the most part, and beyond that any talking we did was born largely out of necessity, giving instruction, asking/answering a question, and occasionally playing a game. Quiet was valued.
Today, though, we are surrounded by noise, even when it’s not audible. The Internet, and especially social media, provide too many people with absolutely nothing worthwhile to say, the opportunity to speak at volumes they would never actually consider were one to meet them in public. They post endless memes, share inflammatory rhetoric in a constant stream, and never seem to shut up even to go to work or sleep. Quiet is practically non-existent.
Quiet stimulates creative thought and the more one talks the less creative that speech becomes. We need the break from the cacophony our planet serves up. There is a time to speak, but without quiet we have no time to consider what’s been said. So please, do everyone a favor: shut the fuck up. Now.[/one_half_last]