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Journal Entries:

Silence Disturbed: Our Techno Age

Ever since I began the Silence I have noticed that all of my sense have been heightened. My own perception has been raised infinitely, most notably in my hearing.

One of the first things I began to notice was a hum. A constant hum that I could not track down. One day, I discovered that my power adaptor for my computer was producing a high-pitched whine

I have read many articles in National Geographic, the New York Times, and other publications about the dangers of light pollution. It disrupts our natural sleep cycles, it disrupts the sleep cycles of nature, and it generally aggravates many of our co-habitators on this earth.

I have never once heard about sound pollution. Instead, our market seems geared towards covering sound, with louder music, with earplugs, with white noise machines. Almost all solutions are either adding to the chaos or accepting it as a status quo.

I do not know how we can rationally acknowledge that light pollution is destructive to ourselves and our eco-system without accepting that the same is true of noise pollution, perhaps to an even greater extent. I believe that this often escapes our notice because unlike light pollution, we adjust to noise pollution. If a loud person enters our space, most of us will speak much more loudly, rather than speaking at a normal volume and encouraging the other person to speak more softly. Thus, our ingrained tendency is to amplify noise and chaos.

Given what I have noticed about the improvement of my own cognitive function by reducing my own personal noise level, I think it is a community good to reduce noise en masse.

In this vein, I have undertaken several steps in my home to reduce the constant buzz that is driving us all crazy with heightened anxiety, worry, and fear. I have plugged all my appliances and electronics into power strips. I can then turn them all off without actually unplugging anything. I have also taken steps to reduce the rushing of water around me. Between my dripping taps, the roar of my showerhead, and the rush of a flushing toilet, I am constantly confronted with the sheer enormity of the water I use. I think this is something we miss when we don’t pay attention to the sound of our actions, and the vast amount of resources lost in the rush and hum. So, I have replaced all my plumbing fittings to make them low-flow. I hear far less waste, and much less of an overwhelming noise whenever I shower. I recommend reading this site, which is where I found the best toilets for people who want to use less water, and the best low flow toilet reviews. Perhaps it is because I live in an older house, but I calculated that I use less than half the water now that I used to with my old toilet, and I have noticed no downsides in function.

By taking these steps, I believe I am not only conserving resources, but doing my own individual part to prevent sound pollution from continuing its ravage upon our civilization. 

Sounds of Silence:

Today, I thought I would try to give you a portrait of life from my perspective. I will go through the sounds of the day, at least some of them. There are truly so many that it is hard to keep track. So, here are many of the sounds that were new to me when I adopted my Silence.

Wakening: birds outside, chirping, gentle breeze ruffling the curtains, gurgle of my stomach, the rustling of my bedclothes as I rise.

Eating breakfast: bustling outside, honking of trucks, engine brakes, motors chuffing, clanking of the trash truck coming around the street. Snatches of conversation as kids walk to work with their parents, as a dog barks next door, and the day begins.

Walk after lunch: birds, so many birds. Chirping, chortling, chittering, lots of “ch-“ sounds. The crunch of my shoes on the pavement, the creaks of my joints, the wind through the branches overhead. Reaching the lake, the gentle ebb and flow, a gull squawks, a dog barks playfully after a stray frisbee.

Evening tea: the gentle simmer, then fierce roar of the boiling water, the splash as it hits my mug, hissing of air from the tea bag, clatter as the kettle returns to the stovetop. Padding feet back to my bedroom, the strain of the mattress as I sit on the edge of the bed, the rush and whine of breath as I breathe in the aroma of the tea.

Going to sleep:

The groan of the mattress and bed frame as I ease onto the bed, the gentle rustle as legs go under sheets, the thump of blankets pulled over my body, the rustle and crush of ears upon pillow, gentle whistle of breathing. A dog barks far away, and a car passes softly. The end of the day.