The other day, my boyfriend and I went for a drive. We left town and went up some logging roads. There were still people up there – it was a gorgeous Sunday afternoon – but we were more than far enough away that it felt like we were in the middle of nowhere.
And it was quiet.
Living in a city, you never experience quiet. Not ever. There’s the distant rush of traffic, the hum of electronics, the chatter of people, the omnipresent wall of white noise. But have you noticed that there’s even more noise than ever? It’s like we’re trying to drown out the noise with more noise. Everywhere you go, there’s always music playing or advertisements blaring. Every store and restaurant has its own choice blasting away. When you go the mall and stand in the entrance of store, you can hear both at once: the hall music AND the store music. Day in, day out, we are inundated with noise.
Noise keeps us from thinking.
Think about that. Is it true? Does noise damage our ability to concentrate, focus, and really think? Would people think more if there were less noise? Or is it something else? I read a study that suggested that people hate doing nothing; do people hate thinking too, hate how stillness and silence encourage thought? Or are they altogether separate?
I have a friend who is very bright, but I constantly see this friend make stupid choices. This friend will complain to me about the consequences of those choices, about how the choice was made in the moment, because it “felt” right, but no thought was put into it. This is the same friend who has music blaring constantly, who always has the TV on in the background (sometimes both at the same time), and who must always be talking or doing something. This friend of mine is smart – maybe even brilliant – but it’s like this friend never stops to think. How would this friend’s life differ if just a little more thought entered the equation? Smart people do stupid things all the time, and it’s mostly when they didn’t stop to think first and fully evaluate the consequences of their actions.
Could noise be making people “dumber?”
It’s something to think about. Maybe try it. Get in a car and drive until there’s nothing but trees around. And think. Think about whatever crosses your mind.
So what do you think, readers? Might there be something to this? Or am I just waxing lightly on a meaningless subject? Have you ever felt like our world has become too loud? Share your thoughts!