The beauty of this magical tree called peace is that it is available to all of us, even in cities, as long as we pay attention to obedience.
We humans are an angry bunch. With our equipment, trucks, alarms, horns, beepers, loudspeakers, airplanes, and grasshoppers, we surround the sounds of progress that are deafening. Exotic is a natural cordon phenomenon. Shameless self-promotion for Ballistic Products and a great bargain on a neat little knife for us.
We developed a strong sound system. We should have done this if our species were to survive in forests and savannas by protecting itself from predators and by finding food and shelter. Getting used to the natural world involved not only seeing things but also feeling them. At night, seeing with our ears, creating a landscape of the world around us without images, was a matter of life or death. Our ancestors were able to recreate the perfect environment – animal species, wind direction, when water was near or far, weather patterns – by listening quietly.
The sound of silence
Silence does not contradict noise; it is the opposite of unwillingness to listen. Even in the wild, far away, there is a lot of noise. When there is wind and wind, there is noise. Unless you are in outer space (where there is no air and therefore no support for broadcast waves), silence – understood as the complete absence of sound – is an idea, a purpose.
I met Pete McBride two years ago while holding a TEDx in Dartmouth, where I work. Pete is an alum, and he came to the campus to introduce you to his amazing documentary about the Grand Canyon, the result of a 450-mile [750 km] journey across the length of the Earth\’s largest gorge. He has struck me as one of those naturalistic artists who incorporates unique technological talent, physical strength, and a clear sense of belonging to the body, body and soul in the natural world. The result is capturing images of deep compassion, exposing parts of the world that most of us dream of seeing.
We found it quickly and are currently working on a joint project that combines our ideas of how we can be in the world. Given what he did and where he was, it makes me happy that you were impressed with my intelligence and the pursuit of physical endurance. McBride\’s camera is brush and lectern, allowing him to create beautiful poems of immeasurable art but also purpose. His purpose is to awaken us to what is currently happening in the worst places on Earth: the complete loss of nature, the insurrection of crime in the Aborigines, the destruction of the environment, the tragedy, which is crucial to our survival. McBride uses his camera to not only bewitch and write but to motivate us to connect with our evolutionary roots.
For example, McBride recently published a beautiful book, Seeing Silence: The Beauty of the World\’s Most Quiet Places, at the same time as the celebration and mourning. It is a celebration of the green beauty of listening to nature for all its beauty, an invitation to return to the wild with our eyes and ears open; it is a lament for the loss of this noisy natural peace, closed with fingers by our artificial machines and the indifference of visual contact with the natural environment there, waiting. How often, if at all, do we walk far from the city, or are we in the open field far away from the streets, listening? Sitting on a rock with your eyes closed close to a cliff overlooking the sea, or in the snow at an altitude of 14,000 feet [14,000 m], or floating quietly in a river by boat, these days is considered a privilege or, sadly, a waste of time.
Yesterday, I went on a walk with my family to enjoy the beautiful fallen leaves. The colors were all over the place, more attractive than ever. But the most touching experience of our simple adventure was not spectacular. It was the sound of falling leaves falling to the ground, a real hail of leaves dripping all around the sounds of crickets and the long cries of owls.
Norwegian explorer and author Erling Kagge also recently highlighted the importance of peace, lamenting that during the noise, \”Peace is about to end.\” In his book Silence: In the Age of Noise, he quoted French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal, who from the early 1600\’s wrote that “all human problems stem from man\’s inability to live alone in solitary confinement.” Kagge notes that Pascal \”has always said that our inaction is so cruel that we try to avoid thinking about it.\”
The longest audio reduction in history
It doesn\’t have to be this way. A forced encounter with our insiders that peace should be an opportunity to communicate the importance of being alone in the world outside and inside. The older I get, the more I appreciate being able to listen to peace. The forced silence of the COVID-19 epidemic – “the longest and most cohesive noise reduction in the world in recorded history” – is likely to awaken some of us to the power of witchcraft and, sadly, may make some nostalgic of the sounds they use as shields against their loneliness .
The deepest and enlightening proclamations and foolish sayings always end in silence. It is then, in the silence of the following, that we are faced with decisions about how we will respond to the words just spoken, and how we can incorporate their meaning into them. Music would mean nothing but silence between notes.
Life\’s problems seem simple, my attention span. Even after I have re-worked on the high decibels of the current era, it seems that the tree of peace has silenced my mental tone.