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Might As Well Face It You’re Addicted To Noise June 8, 2006

Posted by fajita in Media.

by Chris Gonzalez

Jonesboro Sun

Release: 10 June 06


When was the last time you spent 30 waking minutes alone in unplugged silence? Go ahead. I dare you to ponder that question. I’ll wait; I’m not going anywhere. The mere fact that you have to think about it means that you are overly plugged in to noise.


Let’s count the noise in your day. Let’s see, there is the television (DVD’s, downloads, Tivo’d shows, and shows on demand), the radio, the car radio, the MP3 player, the internet, the cell phone, the Blackberry, videogames, various handheld gadgets, and there has got to be a few technological gadgets that make noise I am not considering, but I think you get the point. We have evolved technologically such that there is no more quiet space. No matter where we are in the world, we have a gadget capable of making noise.


A few weeks ago I traveled to
Thida, Arkansas. Uhm, that’s near Oil Trough, which is near
Newport, which is not too far from Batesville. Point: I was in the middle of nowhere. I went there intentionally so I could get away for a day down near a quiet creek. It was a beautiful, warm day and the water was clear and cold. I took off my socks and shoes and waded in the water. It felt good.


Of course I brought my cell phone with me; I take it with me everywhere I go. The strange thing was how I got perfect cell reception in this remote and uninhabited location outside of Thida. The only reason I know that I got perfect cell reception was that I made a stinking phone call while I was there. Yes, I did enjoy nature, bird songs, playful butterflies, and the small swarm of gnats hovering over the surface of the water. But why did I feel compelled in the midst of all of this beauty to make a phone call?


I am worried about myself. It’s not that I think I’m different or weird; no, for me that would be wonderful. Rather I am worried that I am too much getting sucked into the flow of American life that has slowly squeezed out everything calm, quiet, and peaceful. Even when I get away I can’t really stand it. I have got to plug in.


Admit it, you would have made that call from the creek in Thida, too. Which begs the question: Why is it so hard to be alone, to be quiet, to be calm? I wonder if we have gotten so connected technologically that we have disconnected from ourselves. Could it be that we are missing one of the most important relationships in the world: the one with ourselves?


Why is it so uncomfortable to be quiet, alone, and calm? Is there some kind of fear that we might learn about who we really are and then not like that person we find? Well, that question seems kind of overly psychoanalytical, depressing, and even pathological. Could it be that we are slowly being sucked into evil powers of the wicked beast of American consumerism? Hmmm, probably, but that is still kind of dark and depressing.


Perhaps it has more to do with a mild addiction…to noise. Noise is a good distracter, a mild and soothing painkiller, and a reason not to think because, hey, there is that darn noise going on. And think about it, so far as addictions go, you could do worse. It’s a relatively clean addiction – no needles, no vomiting, no diseases. It’s not a health risk and you can do it right on front of other people and no one judges you for it. For all of the options of addictions, the noise addiction isn’t so bad.


However, constant noise does make difficult plumbing the depths of the soul. It makes finding meaning in life, in nature, and in silence impossible. What is missed in an ever noisy world is something of tremendous value.


There is an ancient practice that involves intentional silence – alone silence. Finding time to be in a silent and peaceful place might actually quiet the noise inside you. Wouldn’t it be nice, just for a while, if all the noise stopped?




1. spiritualoasis - June 8, 2006

My dear wife will often turn off the television and say, “Ahhh, quiet is such a good sound.” Right now, no one is in the family room and the television is blaring away–NBA pregame stuff. NOISE!

On the bookshelf behind me is a book entitled: “Meeting God In Quiet Places”. Some day, when things settle down a bit, I hope to read it.

2. fajita - June 9, 2006

Ahhh, quiet is such a good sound

Great quote

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