Remember when your mother would raise her arm, and sometimes her voice, and say 'STOP all that noise. I can't hear myself think.' As a youngster I'd wonder - how silly is that? Who can hear themselves think? Now, as restorative quiet becomes more scarce, I understand.
I used to relish my quiet solo walks. It was a time to clear my head. Let new thoughts find a place to lodge. I'd return home rejuvenated. Those renewing walks seem a long noisy time ago
Today my walk was filled with the noise of leaf blowers, lawn mowers, barking dogs, other walkers on their phones, automobiles with music blaring. I returned home with a furrowed brow, and a headache.
Why is quietness so difficult to find ? AI can create artistic masterpieces, we can put humans on the moon, produce driverless cars. Is there a reason we can't make silent lawn mowers, 'phones that don't beep, elevators that don't give inane instructions - floor 7, step back, the door is closing. Why must every waiting room, restaurant, and even restrooms have background music? Are robots trying to further reduce all human conversation? Have we become allergic to silence?
There are many enjoyable sounds that break the stillness. The sound of the wind, rain, even thunder and lightning. Hearing small children prattling together. The sounds of life. The sounds we should listen to.
The rest? As an almost-Luddite, I raise my arms in a silent plea - 'stop all that noise ... I can't hear myself think.'
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