Sunday, September 21, 2008

Fear of Silence

After our discussion in class on the “need for noise” in our society, I came to find other interesting instances that occur in our everyday lives. For example, everyone has at one time or another been told by some adult or teacher figure that they should try to eliminate the word “like” from their vocabulary. It is true that saying “like” all the time may make you sound like a “valley girl” or immature, but have you ever stopped to think about why and how that word has infiltrated our language and conversation.
The word “like” is a filler – it’s used to fill those uncomfortable pauses of silence that inevitably happen in everyday conversing. We as a society have become so dependent on having a constant noise or task to always hold our attention that once a brief pause of nothingness arises, we scramble to fill the void. This fear of silence tends to happen most in the presence of others. A good example is when the teacher asks a student a tough question. While the student is responding with her answer, she does not pause in a moment of silence to collect her thoughts instead she will sprinkle her answer with the word “like” in times when she needs time to think. Also as I mentioned in class, when a person is waiting on a ride or to meet up with a friend, he can’t just sit there and enjoy the silence. Instead, he will listen to his ipod or talk on his cell phone to fill the “empty” space.
Not only does this fear of silence occur in front of others, but it occurs when we’re alone. I notice this in myself in that I never just enjoy the ride and take in the scenery in silence. I always have to blast my radio, many times causing me to bypass things such as the beauty in nature. Companies are making millions off of unnecessary “noise boxes” such as shower radios. Do you really need to listen to music while you’re shampooing your hair? Our society has come to dislike silence and obsess over constant noises and fillers.

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