There’s a clip of an interview with a chap called Louis C.K. doing the rounds on Facebook at the moment. You can watch it HERE He starts talking about why he won’t get his children mobiles and to begin with it is pretty funny, and everyone in the audience is laughing. Then he goes on to make a serious and actually very sad point (the audience haven’t twigged though, and they are still laughing…). He says nearly all drivers are willing to risk their lives and the lives of other by texting purely so they can avoid silence. And they want to avoid silence, because in the silence they realise they are deeply alone, and they have to face profound sadness. He was arguing this sadness is a beautiful thing. Not sure about that. I’d rather feel happy.
I totally agree with Louis C.K on one thing- it is much easier to be distracted than to have to face what’s inside. I’m right up there with the best of the silence-avoiders, and it makes me wonder what it is I am afraid of feeling. Because unlike Louis C.K, I don’t believe I am alone. When I was investigating solitude for “God Hunting”, I spoke with a guy called TIm who was well and truly converted to silent retreats. I asked him how he coped with so much empty space and he said, “Existing in active and direct communication with God made for a full day- it didn’t feel empty…Silence is not empty. Silence is full of God.” My limited experience of silence has shown me that is true. And I’d still rather avoid it.
Our world is set up to help us if we want to drown out whatever our inner selves are mumbling on about. It actually takes huge will power to sit still in the quiet. It does for me anyway, and I don’t even have a smart phone. But sshhhh… listen…
and into that empty, terrifying space, maybe the Creator himself will speak to us.