[Ponderings] The Disturbing Sound of Silence
By Philip Suzara
Pondering … as I sit here at the edge of my mythical life pond.
One can see many things happening at the edge of life’s pond, as in any pond. Decisions are made there, life changing decisions, defining moments … to get in the pond, or not. The pond is encircled by its edges in different forms and kinds … straight, jagged, rough, rocks, pebbles, sand, soil, or mud. Very much like people. No matter the differences we have, we all belong there … around the life pond, inside, outside, at the edge, but there.
Close your eyes for a brief moment then cover your ears so you shut out all sound … yes, even the ambient sound.
There you go.
Behold, you are now listening to the sound of silence. The realities of our lives speak to us in silence. Notice that it is not a soothing and comforting silence, neither a peaceful one … it is deafening, a little eerie, disturbing even. You feel so alone and isolated and that is because you are not in communication with anyone … not even with yourself.
There are still quite a number of our old folks around who have experienced the atrocities and ravages of World War II, and also, many more of us who survived the dark days and times of the former despot’s Martial Law. While we are always hopeful of the nation’s future, our future, we are cautious and do not view everything with rose-colored glasses.
I revisit one of the iconic songs written by the genius of Paul Simon and relish its message, its meaning, and its relevance at this particular period of our lives, in our nation. This song is reminiscent of those dark periods and a social statement on the prevailing social conditions of those times. It is wisdom that presents itself to us in a song, a very powerful and wisdom laden song.
“Hello darkness, my old friend I've come to talk with you again Because a vision softly creeping Left its seeds while I was sleeping And the vision that was planted in my brain Still remains Within the sound of silence”
We now see remnants of those dark periods … they resurface in different forms, in different degrees, in different people. And, definitely, they resurface anew.
And again, our people are gripped in a creeping terror … and the ghosts of the dark past revisit.
“And in the naked light, I saw Ten thousand people, maybe more People talking without speaking People hearing without listening People writing songs that voices never share And no one dared Disturb the sound of silence”
There is this prevailing and growing disconnection that surrounds us, people are afraid to talk and listen. They speak but don’t really say anything, at all, and they listen but don’t hear anything, either. There are many that are awed by daring demagogues and follow them blindly like lemmings bound for their doom. There are others, too, that just look the other way and ride the tide than go against it … trying to find meaning in their lives when there is none. They become oblivious of their impending doom.
Many have become desensitized to the evil around us, no longer able to speak out against cruelty and injustice. They do not dare disturb the sound of silence, they see their silence as a passive and peaceful solution to their otherwise “different” predicament.
Our moral compass has been assaulted by the new dispensation and our moral numbness has rendered us silent to all that is wrong in our government and society. When we do not stand up and speak against all the atrocities and corruption that goes on around us, we become enablers allowing such iniquities to go unbridled.
"Fools", said I, "You do not know Silence like a cancer grows … But my words, like silent raindrops fell And echoed In the wells of silence”
We are warned of the dangers of incommunicability, that it is a social disease, and that silence is akin to cancer … it will continue to grow and eventually kill its host. Most people are not easily awakened by enlightened others who try hard to stir them back to life, the dissenting voices are usually obscured by those among us who choose to be silent.
“And the people bowed and prayed To the neon god they made”
The people have idolized their demagogue, almost elevating him to a demigod. They are the “fools” who have worshipped their golden calf. They are those who have become either numbed or oblivious to the plight of their fellowmen, surviving on tiny fallen morsels from their demigod’s table, like remoras that gather, stick on, and scavenge for sustenance from under their host. Parasites and enablers.
In a robust democratic society, there should be no space for this sound of silence. We should not be afraid to speak out, both in our personal and social life. While each one of us have our individual lives, we are all very much a part of a bigger community. Also, it is in communicating with each other that a community is kept robust and dynamic.
We should not fall into the malady and tragedy of selfishness and indifference. We should demand for justice and decency for all.
And when pushed against the wall, PUSH BACK!
Pondering … as I sit here at the edge of life’s pond.
Take time to revisit the Sound of Silence by Disturbed.
Captivating. Powerful. Moving.
Creature of God. Child of the Universe. Global Citizen. Lover of Life. Freedom Fighter. Agent of Change. Lone Wolf. Occasional Consultant for Strategic Communications.