"Being Quiet" or "Civilized People are Loud and Stupid"


#1

I’ve always noticed that people who live in cities and/or spend all of their time with the TV and computer games have poor hearing, but today tipped it for me. I noticed this more fully today when I was on campus. Sitting against a pole, I noticed a red-tailed hawk sitting atop some stadium lights that overlook the track. Not a single person who walked or drove by in the half hour or so I sat there noticed him/her. Most of them were so loud! Forget the idiots blasting their car radios at a decible level rivaling the jets flying overhead; more than once I was jarred by people over 50 yards away having conversations so loud that I could hear every word. Tom Brown Jr. is definitely right about shutting up being important to seeing everything. If you’re loud and rushing everywhere, you’ll miss all the fun stuff around you.

When I told my girlfriend about it, she shared a similar story about a beautiful rainbow over the quad that went largely unnoticed.

Anyone else notice civilized peoples’ tendency not to notice things?


#2

When I try to attune myself to my surroundings in civilization, I often feel met with the harsh reality of its noise… I’ve stopped doing it.

When I used to live in the country, an automatic response to stress was to relax into my senses and get acquainted with whatever was around me. It became quite habitual. I can’t do that in the city, because it only results in more stress, and I haven’t learned yet exactly what to do instead. It makes me so frustrated.


#3

I notice that many folks I’ve met seem almost afraid of silence. I know people who put on the TV for background noise, who can’t seem to take the stillness of quiet. Or perhaps it’s just that locking themselves in a bland square room, their inbuilt expectation for a world buzzing with life needs to be met with a surrogate. Either way, I notice some of these folks cannot seem to handle being quiet without some awkward feeling. I’ve come accustomed to sitting in silence, even with companions nearby. I have no trouble going without speaking for long times, but I notice sometimes others make silly conversation to fill in the space…?

Then again, I miss out on noticing a lot of things. The other day, I was walking down a rarely travelled road on my way to pick up some good compost for a garden. Walking, single minded towards the goal, I walked right up on some deer – not 6m to my right next to the road, without noticing them until they got spooked and started leaping off.


#4

I’m one of those who can’t stand silence, I always have the radio or music or something on while I am working, I throw on music or the radio while I’m reading, I can’t sit and talk at dinner or play a game without music. I don’t really know why, just sitting there with no sound in the background just feels so wrong.


#5

Ha ha, i used to hide when my mom pulled out the beast-that-sucks-up-dust-from-the-floor. (can’t remember the English word. This one’s got a nice e-primitive ring to it anyway :P) The noise always felt so incredibly grating, so much so that i just wanted to bury miself deeply underground… Ah well.

Interestingly, i too thought of this recently. When I watch the idiot box, I usually turn the sound off during commercial breaks, and then I take the time to notice how my companions start to fiddle with papers, blabber mindlessly or just make sound in any conceivable way. ;D


#6

It’s a vacuum, but I like beast-that-sucks-up-dust-from-the-floor way better, thanks :).

The story about the tv is too true, then again, comercials can be a good time for convrsation, and I always enjoy a good conversation.


#7

Me too! ;D That name will live on in my household.

Thanks, I needed to hear that, after a recent conversation with someone who called us all “gene robots”.

About the silence thing, I have times I like quiet and times I like some level of noise/activity/music/conversation/whatever. Depends on my mood and activities.

It kinda boggles me when I see folks walking around the city with plugs in their ears–I think I’d lose touch with my surroundings and walk in front of a bus. I can’t hear someone talking to me in front of my face if I’m listening to someone on the phone.

[quote=“wildeyes, post:3, topic:861”]I notice that many folks I’ve met seem almost afraid of silence. I know people who put on the TV for background noise, who can’t seem to take the stillness of quiet. Or perhaps it’s just that locking themselves in a bland square room, their inbuilt expectation for a world buzzing with life needs to be met with a surrogate. . . .

Then again, I miss out on noticing a lot of things. The other day, I was walking down a rarely travelled road on my way to pick up some good compost for a garden. Walking, single minded towards the goal, I walked right up on some deer – not 6m to my right next to the road, without noticing them until they got spooked and started leaping off.[/quote][quote=“Matt, post:4, topic:861”]I’m one of those who can’t stand silence, I always have the radio or music or something on while I am working, I throw on music or the radio while I’m reading, I can’t sit and talk at dinner or play a game without music. I don’t really know why, just sitting there with no sound in the background just feels so wrong.[/quote]

Seems like indoor and outdoor silence feel different. Or maybe carry different expectations.


#8

I agree. I think that indoor silence, what little noise it has, is usually machine noise, and, in general, it is more silent inside. This means that I, at least, am less comfortable with it, is just too quiet, and too machiny. I enjoy being quiet in the outdoors far more, as, in general, the silence is more open, and what noise there is, more likely come from non-human or even human animals. This just feels better to me.


#9

I think that one of the major reasons people seek noise, and avoid being quiet with/by themselves is because silence puts them in touch with who they really are. When you sit totally alone and quiet, it is a powerful experience. This is why the sit spot, despite its simplicity can be so useful. It is not just observing nature, but observing the self that comes from sitting in silence.

Our ego needs us to keep blabbing and banging away, so that it can feel its separation and specialness through that separation. Once you are silent, you start to feel this deep connection to everything in and through your body. Music is great, but if you use it to keep Silence at bay then you are afraid of your true nature.

That “wrongness” is a fear that crops up from the ego, a fear of destruction… the ego is afraid to die. Silence puts you in touch with your mortality… especially in an extended form, such as a Vision Quest.

Silence might just be the greatest re-wilding tool we have. Matt, try to sit with and in, silence for at least 15 minutes a day. Come back and tell us what you experience after a week. Are you up for that?


#10

I remember one night I was at an outdoor event with over 200 people. Everyone kept coming up to me asking “What are you doing?” “What are you looking for?” “Are you okay?” because I was looking up most of the time.

I had to point out some of the brightest Aurora Borealis I’ve seen here. The whole sky was ablaze with green, and no one I talked to noticed it at all. When I pointed it out, most just said “oh, cool” or even “so?” and walked away. It was really weird to me at the time… how can you not see that? How can you be so dismissive of something that beautiful? ???


#11

Well, duh, it looks much better in the movies done by digital effect. :wink: / :-\


#12

Taking into consideration the topic of this thread. Northern Lights are something that you have to stop, be still, and pay attention to, in order to really see all that’s happening. A quick glance up and seeing the brightness isn’t much until you watch for a while and see all the movement and change.

I’ve seen some pretty amazing northern lights that would rival what they do in the movies. Just the fact that it’s not in the movies makes it a whole lot better.


#13

In my experience, the northern lights indeed sometimes DO rival the ones seen on postcards and popculture. More green and less funky disco colors. Also my most beautiful memory of foxfire was when just glancing up. It was HUUGE and circular and so much more intense then any picture i’d seen before or after.


#14

I saw red northern lights once. Only once though.


#15

Green is the usual color here, I think the other colors become more common as you go north.
Sometimes you’ll look at the sky for a while, then suddenly realize there’s something there, like a veil of light so thin your not sure if your seeing it or not.


#16

I had a similar experience at a rainbow gathering in Ashcroft B.C several years ago.I think I may have been the only person to see the blue green light show until people started asking what i was looking at.A week later I saw way more people gazing at the sky,guess the word got around.


#17

[quote=“heyvictor, post:12, topic:861”]Taking into consideration the topic of this thread. Northern Lights are something that you have to stop, be still, and pay attention to, in order to really see all that’s happening. A quick glance up and seeing the brightness isn’t much until you watch for a while and see all the movement and change.

I’ve seen some pretty amazing northern lights that would rival what they do in the movies. Just the fact that it’s not in the movies makes it a whole lot better.[/quote]

(It was sarcasm!)


#18

BlueHeron-
I understood it was sarcasm. No offence or challenge meant there. Some people do really think and say things like that.

It’s amazing how often things go unnoticed by the majority of the people.

One time I was at a bus stop in the city I grew up in along the Mississippi River. I saw a couple of eagles circling over head and I pointed them out to the person next to me.
Without even looking up they said, “Those aren’t eagles.”
I said, “Yeah they are. Look they have white heads and white tails.”
Again without looking up they said, “We don’t have eagles here.”

So I just watched them by myself.


#19

OK, I wasn’t sure. Depending on my mood I can completely miss sarcasm sometimes so I didn’t want to assume…

Your story about the eagles reminds me of something that I notice pretty regularly that nobody else seems to give a second thought to. All the trees, flowers, bushes, etc. in the city are lined up in rows, and pruned/mowed or otherwise manicured and controlled. Those plants are only there because somebody put them there. The only autonomous plants are the dandelions. People in the city do not recognize this as autonomy; for them the dandelion’s autonomy is worse than useless: a “bad” quality instead of being a natural quality that should be easy enough to accept…


#20

Yeah, the one time I really remember seeing northern lights, they were really hard to see sometimes, but really cool when you saw them.