Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Silence and Paradox

Well, this is my last DSD post before Inauguration Day, and I've come to resign myself to a simple fact: every day for the foreseeable future I will either read, see, or hear something about Donald Trump.  This is not only due to Trump's omnipresence in the media or his regular Twitter comments. It's also a result of the never ending commentary upon commentary upon remark upon despairing rant one comes across on, say, Facebook.  Not that the barrage of Trump related discourse isn't understandable and justified, but at the same time, I can't help but wonder whether this constant deluge of political noise one encounters from the moment one wakes up in the morning to the moment one goes to bed poses some kind of danger to your imagination.  I'm not talking about
political inclinations here. It goes without saying that I wish the man would not become president. But he will become president. And there's a  point where it starts to feel imperative to find a balance between being aware, vigilant and resistant and being, shall we say, more psychologically distant.

As far as I'm concerned, writing requires a certain silence. I'm not talking about literal silence (though the closer to complete silence, the better the conditions for writing), but a kind of mental space free of the world's noise.  It's a noise that comes from everywhere now, not only from the people spewing disagreeable notions and plans, but also from the people you way more often than not agree with.  With social media especially, who can't make noise, well-meaning or toxic, who can't spread and share noise created by others making noise?  And of course, the noise is needed.  True silence in the face of a certain mentality with a will to power suggests acquiescence. So no, we don't want silence.  No silence!  But the fact remains, I have to confess, that at a certain point I get fed up with all the noise emanating from so many sources, each of which would like to persuade you of something or other.  And maybe it's just that: the predominance of the lecturing, the moral certitude that comes tucked within so much of the noise created on a daily basis.  

But whatever.  Maybe in middle age, I've just become a cranky individual. My tolerance for listening to people repeat themselves on the same subject has become low.  Better to have the freedom to make all that noise, no matter how platitudinous, than not, right? No question about that.  And the antidote against it is simple.  

Tune out, tune in, and drop acid.

No, it's not that (though I wish it was).  But it is as simple as putting yourself on information lock down and placing yourself in that silent space where the main noise you hear is from within. 

Sounds almost dopey, when I think about it, but I find it works.  

Tune out, tune in (to Microsoft Word, how mundane) and write.  

It's something of a paradox, but for myself at least, the best way to engage with the world through writing, to reflect that world in a hopefully striking and imaginative way, is to get as far away from it mentally as possible.

1 comment:

Dana King said...

I'm with you on this. There's a useful area between silence and noise. Silence implies assent, and we certainly don;t want that. There's also a point past which criticism becomes bitching which becomes whining, and that is not only productive, but counter-productive.