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

You know this is THE FIRST TIME I have felt closer to the “western” world, in terms of my personal experiances with things. When people usually talk about “wow it feels so great to go barefoot” etc, i don’t know that, since as far back as i can remember less things on me = better. So i went around barefoot a lot.

anyways, i do enjoy silence, (being someone who was brought up in a place like rishivalley) but since i moved to the western world, i find my attention span decreasing. With all the entertianment that is avialable all the time etc. Back in india we used to have weekly power cuts, where we all just sit outside and listen to the night, maybe chat a little bit. Fortunately, I still have not lost touch with feral-Tj.

Senses wise i find, at least for myself, that a most of my senses are very sharp when they need to be (YEARS of “i am sitting in front of the TV and my parents can be home any minute, if they see me hear i am dead” will do this to you). Kinda like the reflexes a prey has to escape predator, i hear or feel something i RUN first before realising what went on. So i do have that side of me as well. i DO listen to music, but i am mostly aware of whats going on, or at least as much as I would be even otherwise. I think tho on some level i tone down the sensory inputs, cuz regularly ud think im utterly deaf and blind as a bat, by the way i do things. But then there are those times when i seem to have the sensory attention of a deer. I also find that i can smell a LOT more if i need to, but i don’t do it normally cuz it would overwhelm me. Since smell is a strong sense for me, and i am from a place thats not that great smelling (Urban cities in India), i think it was a sort of a defense mechanism that developed in me).

Like if i wanna wake up in the morning the breese rustiling the leaves outside will wake me at the right moment, but if i decide to sleep, i can sleep through a thunderstorm, and an earthquake. I HAVE actually been thru a 6.4 on the richter without noticing anything.

But generally i DO find modern culture does not have people stop and smell the roses so to speak. Or actually LISTEN and sense what is around you, BE AWARE. I think a lot of peoples problems and stresses would go away if they just relax take a deep breath and listen to the wind, feel the ground beneath ur feet, sense the creatures around you, and smell the trees etc. [anyone else notice trees in general have a distinct smell at night, i.e. when they stop photosynthesizing?].


anyone else notice trees in general have a distinct smell at night, i.e. when they stop photosynthesizing?

The night breeze here smells amazing. Pine/spruce/lilac mostly, but as you said, these, while still recognizable, smell different at night.

Today an aunt of mine was looking around and asked if it was going to rain. I replied, surprised, “Um, no. It doesn’t even smell like it.”

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I always smell for the rain too. Seeing clouds may or may not bring rain, but if you can smell it, it’s there, and it’s coming your way ;D

Can anyone else smell static? Like when there’s gonna be lightning?

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You can definitely feel the air being sticky and heavy during lightning. Some people with arthritis say they can feel it in their joints even before a thunderstorm has arrived, so I don’t see why other people couldn’t sense it through practice?

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I can smell it though, not just “sense”. I can tell an incoming ‘normal’ rainstorm from a lightning storm by smell alone.

If I rub a balloon on my hair or some fur, I can smell the static on it, and it’s a similar smell when there’s lightning.

I was wondering about that specifically because the only people I’ve ever asked about it aren’t exactly in touch with their surroundings, so I don’t know what to think of their answers.

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I think a lot of people just need to be clued in that there’s a connection between things like smell and rainstorm. It’s like “Now that you mention it, there is a particular smell before a storm.” Most civilized people just aren’t used to paying attention to the subtler stimuli, on top of their diets and lifestyles dulling them.

I live in a little cube in the central business district of Auckland, New Zealand.
I work the late shift, 3:30pm till midnight, and usually hit bed around 3:30am and sleep till 11am or something like that.

I was still up at 5am the other morning and stood on my balcony.
I had never bothered to pay attention for a long time but I listened to the birds, it was fucking beautiful.

I now no longer use my ipod.

yeah iPods. I kind of hate them. They are like a drug that people use to make it easier to do things they don’t enjoy. Then they want to use them all the time. Like when their jogging or bike riding. I used to be really into recorded music when I was younger. I worked in a record store when I was in my teens and always wanted to have some good music to accompany everything I was doing. I still like to have something on when I’m alone working in my shop or on a long drive somewhere but I find that more and more I choose quiet. Lately I’ve found sometimes I’ll even drive for 6-8 hours on a trip with nothing in the tape deck.

I’ve been thinking lately that this whole idea of having a soundtrack to all of our acivities is kind of wierd and definitely a civilized concept. You see all these people walking around with earphones in their ears, with their own private soundtrack going, isolated from everything around them instead of tuned in to whats around them.

I remember in one of Michal Mcclure’s poetry books he talked about pop music, and i think recorded music in general, as a twisted way for a parasite to try vainly to create some kind of artificial beauty, some manufactured inspiration to continue as its host is about to die and real beauty has been almost fully eradicated.

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I had a hilarious, disruptive laugh-out-loud moment while in one of the classes for the hunter’s safety course I’m taking. We were watching a video about learning when not to shoot for safety reasons, and one of the comments the announcer on the film made was about how groundhogs have such good vision and will see you coming. In the past two days I’ve sneaked up on a groundhog a few times without it seeing me until I was well within bow range, maybe within spear stabbing range, and I’m certainly not an experienced hunter. Once I wasn’t even stalking, I just sort of stumbled upon it. I laughed quite loudly when I thought of how loud most of these “hunters” must sound moving through the woods. No stealth skills at all.

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indoor quiet is machiny and less relaxing but i like to try to hear as much as i can, really listen to the fridge humming, layers of sound.

i’m often amazed how quickly animals will return to an loud area after it returns to silence. i try to hear the creek bubbling and the bird chirping and the grass rustling and perceive it all at once. the whole sonic scene.

it’s difficult for me to slow down and concentrate on the little things in life, but it takes an even more attuned awareness to perceive it all at once .

and isn’t that basically what meditation is? being able to sit back and perceive the whole entirety of the world, not just the individual things?

There is an interesting article here: http://bigthink.com/ideas/18694

It is about the loss of natural silence and I painfully experience that. Even if I go to any seemingly natural place within some 10s of kilometers, I never get silence. It is so fragging distracting to hear motors in the distance or airplanes flying above. In the montains there are a few spots that are shielded by the mountains and in which the more distant noises are overpowered by the silent sounds of a river - these places are great. Or the Karoo savannah I was working in for 4 weeks - rarely a creeking noise of some farmes windmill or gate and mostly the sounds of nature. But most of the time if I sit anywhere quietly, I hear people and their machines. So I rarely want to do that in the city or suburbs and then I sometimes also react as others do - I listen to music or audiobooks (which I prefer over music) or even TV. I think that may be the unconscious reason why others do it too - to tune out the noises of civilization and replace them with something one has control over.
I am a very quiet person usually - sitting there and not talking, just thinking or looking into the fire or listening to what others say - that is my nature and I have not a problem with silence at all. But I noticed some people do. I feel their minds are in overdrive - accustomed to the constant input/output of modern civilization - like beeing on caffeeine all the time. You alsways have to do something, to be productive in some way or at least to fill the time with something “fun” like starting minesweeper during the commercial break on TV or such. Dont waste a minute - time is precious. I read a bit about time in Zerzans “Running on Emptyness” and I think some of it is quite true - people really think about sitting and thinking/listening/watching the sky or the river or the fire as if it is a “waste of time” - the clock ticking away. I didnt know that, but I think that is one of the reasons I never ever in my life wanted to wear a wristwatch. I always had, if I had to keep time, a watch in my pocket to use only if required. Clocks are also one of these noises - I know some people who actually need to hear the ticking sound of a clock at night. Maybe it is because it is a good distraction from the numerous civilization sounds around us - the fridge running, people using the water, cars driving by or air conditioning running somewhere.

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Hey Aurora,

I feel the same way. I was just living out in the country, and while there was still city-like noises out there, it was definitely better than Portland Central where I live now. OH MY GOD THERE IS THIS FUCKING CAR ALARM. Grrrrrr. It goes off randomly at all hours and goes for like 15 minutes every time. I want to get out of here pretty bad. lol.

Haha - yeah. Car alarms. I hate those. I heard them a lot when I was in the US. Here, they are a little less common, but where I live now, there are sometimes alarms from houses, as I live in a small property with some garden, large trees but also commercial property all around. I also had to get used to the railway. Its better than my previous place in the city though, where I almost got evicted for setting up a secret roof garden LOL - still. I want to get into a more serene place…
Why did you move in the city anyways, if you liked it better in the place you had been before?

I know this forum is old, sorry for the bump … its just something that still feels relevant.

I don’t know where to find the old school rain / weather trinkets made from animal bladders that swell & tell you the humidity & chance of rain.

I think if you look around sometimes other animals seem to be in touch with storms as well. I feel the static in the air before a storm sometimes too but I do have to be paying attention … I know some people who are hard of hearing from farming equipment so its not just city noise, if you’ve got good hearing you might hear electricity from older electronics when turned on or cheap electronics when charging - really peaks my interest in Faraday cages.

From a rewild / civilized dream, it could be really nice to have a truly quiet space. Ive only found these in mountain ranges without cities.


Interestingly, I find that in many places/situations people have become a lot quieter than some eight years ago.

I am a quiet person, really more quiet than most, and most would outtalk me, rewilders too. I am alert and notice more of my surroundings, and any small animals, further than would be typical of others, being barefoot increases alertness.