December 5, 2013 — 1 Comment
Photo by Stefanie Doll, via Flickr
The year of 2013 started out that way, as the year of noise, but I wasn’t listening until about September. It was then that I partially read One Square Inch of Silence: One Man’s Quest To Preserve Silence by Gordon Hempton and John Grossman. The book is about Hempton’s journey as an audio ecologist from Washington State to Washington, D.C., and how he measured the audio EKG of the country.
I mentioned here why I didn’t finish the book, I then expounded on the topic later as I talked about trying to find the balance between the quiet and the loud and also turning down the volume on social media. Then last month, I returned once again to noise, this time addressing what I call the buzz that is present in our neighborhood. As I mentioned there, this buzz is “a maelstrom of noise, a combination of noises that seem to create a perfect storm of sonic dissonance. I only wish that this was the eye of the hurricane. Unfortunately, it seems I am caught in one of the widening gyres.”
This past Sunday, author Christina Rosalie shared this tweet:
This is brilliant: http://t.co/bhikrajoPj — Christina Rosalie (@christina_write) November 29, 2013
about industrial engineer Rudolf Stefanich’s idea to turn down the volume on ambient noise, which resonated with me naturally in light of those previous monologues on noise.
Also on Sunday, on 60 Minutes, Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos unveiled his company’s new idea of drones delivering packages to your doorstep. That also resonated with me naturally because I believe, like Hempton no doubt also would believe, that this is unnecessary noise pollution, as if there is any noise pollution that is necessary.
Again, I am being confronted by how do I deal with the noise, both external and internal, in my life, and often the answer isn’t simple and isn’t consistent. At times, I wait for the neighbor’s dog to stop barking hopefully within a few minutes or at the most half an hour, then settle into the silence that envelops me…at least for a few minutes until the dog starts barking again. Other times, I drown the noise of the neighbor’s dog with more noise but noise of my choosing.
Within the last six months, that noise has been the “music of the gears” as I have dubbed it after my wife called it the music of machines. Music like this:
Sometimes I find solace in chaos. I don’t understand it, but I do. Ironically, dissonance is where I find my refuge — from the dissonance inside my mind.
How do you deal with the noise in your life?