The Sound of Silence


Yesterday was beautiful because it snowed. Traffic stopped, almost all noise vanished and for a bit there it was, silence. There was peace at last. I felt calm and serenity and thought this is it, this is how I want to feel all the time.

Sadly, the peaceful interlude didn’t last. The snow plows came and then the sound of shovels echoed throughout the neighborhood. But it was still quiet enough for me to enjoy it.

Noise is everywhere. Everyone’s thoughts, usually private and internalized, have now to be blasted to the outside world, like we want to hear your opinion on everything 24/7. Truly, half the time you say something, we don’t care. You dump all your shit like an oil tanker in the midst of the ocean and strongly believe you’re entitled to do so. Last I checked, you’re not a brilliant philosopher, and even philosophers are full of it. You’re just another Joe Schmo who cruises through life with your wireless earbuds, perfectly sheltered from pain, hunger, or despair. You know nothing about half the theories and 2 cent statements you spew on your social media feed, especially after a few drinks, when your mind is lubricated, and somehow, it’s in those moments that you feel the most profound. You’re so out of touch with anything, I can’t do much but nod and smile or walk away because I don’t want to start an argument.

Doesn’t mean I don’t hear you. Doesn’t mean whatever you say pisses me off. You’re allowed to voice your opinion. Everyone’s got one. See, I’ve had those same conversations countless times. What’s the meaning of life? Why do people kill each other over money, power or out of sheer cruelty? Why is there still so much poverty all around us? Why, why, why… stop. Everything starts and ends with you. And if all of us focused a little less on the shit we can’t change, and instead prioritized our efforts on the shit we can change, there would be progress somewhere, don’t you think?

Some people will stop me right here, and say “But I care!” If you think caring is demonstrating once a year against whatever cause you feel strongly about, or donating money you will deduct from your taxes anyway, while you still treat half (or all) the people in your life like shit, I’d say “Think again!” But people like you like to take selfies all day long and pretend they live this glamorous life that you only see in movies. Then one day, you decide to look the part, and you pretend to care. It’s fantasy land for you no matter where you look. You’re going to take a selfie at that event you attend because if you don’t no one will believe you were there. That’s how shallow you are.

Truth is, working on yourself takes too much work, and there’s no app for that. Who wants to spend their precious time introspecting? Who wants to peel the layers of the onion, expose all the painful shit, and learn from their mistakes not to repeat them ever again? And then, help someone else. No, you know what, it’s easier to buy a new outfit, get a makeover and blast everyone with pictures or videos of the last meal you had. Because we surely give more a fuck about that than your mea culpa.

I say “we”, maybe it’s just me. I don’t care about that. I’m the sadist who wants to get to know you, and catch your flaws. I want to learn what really makes you tick. Most of us hide everything under layers of cellophane like we’re afraid someone is going to find us out, and we’re going to start rotting upon exposure to fresh air and direct sunlight. God forbid you try to be honest and truthful to yourself for once.

Give me a break. I’m sure you heard the truth shall set you free. I guess you don’t care about freedom. The human spirit is such a beautiful and resilient gift we’ve received from evolution, but instead of nurturing it, you shit all over it and let it slowly die selfie after selfie because your self-expression has to be about just you, am I right? You love to starve yourself, and then you binge on garbage, and you still believe that’s the way to go. Somehow, it’s become a problem to think freely. Wait let me rephrase that. Somehow, it’s become a problem to think. The sound of your own thoughts gives you the jitters. Ultimately, you have lost all ability to feel comfortable with yourself, so you make up this image of you that you think the entire world will approve of, and as a result you will too! You fill up the beautiful peaceful silence with virtual diarrhea because you think you’re don’t matter otherwise. Maybe if you stay silent for too long you’re going to dry out like a prune and someone else is going to boot you out of your oh so important personal space and then what? Are you going to die? God forbid you don’t express your opinion at least once today. And take the selfie.

Maybe you need to prove the world you exist because someone is going to eat you up and shit you out. At least you would serve a purpose. You would improve the health of someone’s digestive track instead of posting countless pictures of your ass at every angle and under any kind of lighting. I have developed this unnecessary and completely unwelcomed intimate connection with you. Please stop harassing me.

Right, that’s why I have the Unfollow and Block features available to me at any time. Because instead of trying to be social animals, we work hard to be antisocial. I don’t think like you, so I must be wrong. Block. I don’t like your style, so I should never pay attention to you anymore. Unfollow. We’ve come to a point where we crave attention but don’t want any of the criticism. We just want praise. Let’s all win medals without doing any of the work. We are all winners, right?

I wonder if you pause to wonder about how people feel, the people who don’t have what you have, who live in a world where the bare necessities are a luxury, where their freedom of movement and/or thought are constantly threatened. Are you far less worried about the shade of liquid lipstick you bought online than the fate of these human beings? Granted, some are far away, across an ocean and in countries you’ll never set foot in. But some of them are right at your doorstep.

It wasn’t such a long time ago that tribes slaughtered each other over territories, men raped women as a right of passage and assimilation, children were being treated like slaves and freedom was a concept so foreign, except for kings and queens because they were the rulers and certainly didn’t want to lose that privilege. People survived more than they lived. Today, there are still lots of injustices all over the world, but some societies have evolved and built spaces where people can actually live.

And your biggest concern is how you look in that bathroom mirror. There’s nothing wrong about building up your self-esteem. But how many likes do you need? Maybe your own like should be sufficient?

So yeah, forgive me if I get pissed over that sometimes. Forgive me if I don’t express myself as often as I should because I would literally start wars, and in the end does what I think really matter? Do I want to be happy, or do I want to be right? I want to be happy. To be honest, I fall prey to the selfie every once in a while too. I can’t cast the stone if I’m not pure, right? There, I cast the stone and beat myself up too. That’ll certainly make some happy. Judging is oh so wrong, yet everyone runs when American Idol is in town.

I should seriously write a post on humility and open-mindedness another day or this will end up being a book.

There’s so much noise out there, I really like when everything just stops. It’s like a gift from God. It’s a reminder that we are very small at the scale of the universe, and our achievements, as wonderful as they can be, are also minuscule. I appreciate that. Silence helps deflate my ego. There’s no fantasy land, no filters. It’s life happening before my eyes, unaltered.

I really don’t need to be right. So I’ll shut up.

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