Monday, June 30, 2014

continuing silence


  There are 3 kinds of people in the world.
  The first kind go through life thinking only of themselves. "I want what I want, screw everyone else." These people are in general, "jerks".
  The second kind do "good" things because it makes them feel good about themselves. They strive for a positive self image.
  The third kind do "good" things because, to them, it's instinctual. They've never known any other way of living. They do the "right" thing, by nature.
  It's possible to be a mostly first kind of person and become a mostly second kind, and vice versa. But neither the first kind or second kind can ever become the third kind of person.
  Most of us are a variable mix of the first and second kind of person. I myself, was primarily a first kind, for a very long time.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

continuing silence


  The vast majority of humanity see themselves as basically "good". We think we perceive things as they really are and that we are the "good guys (or girls)" in the story.
  But what if we're actually not?
  Adolph Hitler didn't think to himself, "I am going to be the most despicable person in human history." He thought of himself as a savior and a patriot. Stalin too. These are of course, extreme examples, but the basic idea applies to the the point being made.
  Many of us commit little "evils" throughout our lives. But we justify them in one way or another because we feel that deep down we're really "good", so anything we could do isn't really all that bad.
But when viewed objectively, these self justifications (or rationalizations) are utterly absurd and insidiously delusional.
  We human beings are a conceited and arrogant species. We declare ourselves to be the height of evolution, and proceed to exploit every other living thing on the planet (including each other). We create a god in our own image that only allows us into heaven (if we belong to the right religion and/or country). This god conveniently forgives all of our sins. Any real "evil" in the world is blamed on someone else, or a guy in a red leisure suit who carries a pitchfork. It certainly couldn't be our fault.
  If there indeed is a god, she/he/it is probably more like a Black Lab than a human being. I've never met a Black Lab that was anything but delightful.
  What i'm getting at is, what if you aren't as funny, smart, cute, wonderful and "good" as you think you are? What if you've been subjectively deluded all this time? What if, when examined objectively, you're really not that "good" after all?
 I know about this kind of jarring self realization because... i'm a jerk.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

continuing silence


  A while back, i was working out at the gym when it hit me. The noxious aroma of virulent b.o. Annoyed by this assault on my nose, i glared around in search of the culprit. My baleful gaze fell upon the sweaty patron hefting weights nearby. I decided to try and continue my workout in another area of the club, as far away from this slob's stink as possible.
  Settling in on another machine, i began my set and was instantly set upon by the low tide stench of more nasty b.o. It was then i noticed that i was in close proximity to yet another sweaty member.
  "What is with this place?", i fumed to myself. "Doesn't anyone believe in roll-on anymore?"
  I quickly beat a hasty retreat to another area of the gym. There was someone nearby, but they appeared dry and of no potential threat, stink-wise. Much to my angry dismay, pungent air soon accosted my nasal passages again. In my fury i thought, "This guy reeks too! People are so inconsiderate! Everywhere i go it frigging stinks!! I really should say something, but i'll keep quiet. Maybe i will say something...."
  Then suddenly, the truth of the situation finally dawned on me,  "oh.....crap....."

Monday, June 23, 2014

continuing silence

  Six months have elapsed since i started my attempt at a year of silence. There have been a couple slips of the tongue and one emergency situation, but overall i have remained quiet.
  The halfway point is always my favorite part of any art project i undertake.
  I don't like beginnings. They are always so tentative and uncertain. The majority of the time, i wind up going back and fixing the first clumsy missteps of fledgling endeavors.
  Finishing a project is never a joyous occasion for me either. Endings always leave me feeling bereft. Upon completing a piece i am left empty and without purpose.
  But being midway through something is a magical time. It's at that moment i become certain of an art project's viability. I step back and scrutinize it, to determine its value and quality. If i'm lucky, at that instant, a euphoric rush of purposeful resolve overtakes me. The piece begins to take on a life of its own. My hands become the tools of its intention, not my own. Under the will of something better than myself, with the furies of uncertainty utterly banished, i joyously work towards the artwork's completion, knowing what i'm doing is "right".
   Many weeks ago, however, i came to the realization that this endeavor in silence did not meet the standard to be called art. So what is this ongoing quiet, and why do i continue?

Sunday, June 22, 2014

continuing silence


  There is no silence in nature. Even without the human clamor, nature makes its own noise.
  When i was walking in the woods i heard continuous bird calls, small animal chatter, and the drone of insects. These were not obtrusive sounds, however. These noises seemed biologically rhythmic, a kind of swell of life. As opposed to the synthetic crash and boom of peopled environments.
  We human beings are like the noisy residents of a big apartment complex. We're constantly renovating and throwing loud parties, not caring how it upsets all the other tenants. Not to mention, how it brings down the property values.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

continuing silence


  It started to rain pretty hard. I noticed that the windows were down on my friend's car, so i rushed inside to warn him that it was raining.
  I didn't have my pen and paper, so i gesticulated wildly, trying to get the message across before his car interior was soaked. Slowly he deciphered the message.
    "...... falling..."
    ".... outside..."
    "... it's falling outside..."
    "... it's raining outside...."
    ", my car!"
  Except for the expletive, it was very similar to one of those old episodes of "Lassie".

Thursday, June 19, 2014

continuing silence


  The song of the ice cream truck. Bright and joyful in childhood. A cloying nuisance with maturity.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

continuing silence


  When emergency sirens blare, we look to those around us in order to formulate an appropriate response. Studio crowds that respond on cue, in turn let us know when to laugh or applaud.
  The vociferous behavior of others plays an integral part in the crowd hypnosis of individuals. Whether an event is rapturous or riotous is dictated by the prevailing group mentality.
  People that have taken part in the frenzied adoration of popular celebrities and powerful political figures, as well as those that have participated in uproarious mob destruction, all have something in common. When interviewed months after the occurrence, they almost unanimously report that they were caught up in the exciting upheaval of the moment, and that they just went along with everyone else.
  Social psychology studies have proven that we humans are far easier to convince of something, no matter how absurd, when in a tumultuous group setting rather than when we are alone and calm.  

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

continuing silence


  I was consciously silent in my dreams last night.
  As long as i can remember, i've often been aware in my dreams. Most of the time, i'll seize the opportunity and attempt to fly.
  I used to try and talk to the people i would encounter while dreaming. I would attempt to ask them questions. But i soon figured out that it was just a different way of talking to my self.
  Last night, i was quiet. The dream people attempted to make conversation with me, but i wouldn't speak. While i sleep, silent awareness has become my priority.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

continuing silence


  I have inadvertently developed my own form of "sign language". I have gestures that i use to express certain things, and they seem quite effective. However, i'm sure it would seem like pig-latin to someone who actually knows how to sign.
  I have begun to learn the real sign language, and i'm sure in the long run it will prove far more subtle and intricate than my spasmodic gesticulations. I wonder if my made up gesturing would be considered "noisy" and abrasive to someone who speaks sign language...

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

continuing silence


  Today i heard from half the people who've read this blog. She said that she didn't think it had failed with the flood phone call, and that she applauded what i was attempting to do.
  I've been spending so much time rattling around upstairs in the attic, that i've forgotten how nice it is to hear someone ring the doorbell.

Monday, June 9, 2014

continuing silence


  The noise you make when you're ill no longer inspires sympathy from others. It is considered to be a kind of warning beacon. Stay away, or they might risk getting sick themselves.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

continuing silence


  What started as a strident whispered exchange between the two girls seated in front of us, soon turned into a hands over the mouth, desperately stifled giggling. As with any boiling pot, trying to put a lid on it only makes it explode... Soon they were shaking with paroxysms of laughter.
  The quiet darkness of the theater scowled at them, and they laughed even harder. On the bloated screen, the costarring explosions and gun fire fought for the girls attention, but were soundly beaten by the tears of hilarity running down their cheeks.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

continuing silence


  I have heard nothing back in response to my email inquiries regarding booking time inside the anechoic chamber at Orfield Labs. It would be an inconvenient irony if the only way to spend some time in "the quietest place in the world", would be by making a reservation over the phone.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

continuing silence


  Even the most pleasant sounds become annoying with repetition.
  A favorite song turns monotonous when heard too many times.
  An amusing joke becomes tedious with retelling.
  A parent's reassuring voice during childhood, turns into a nagging annoyance upon the arrival of adolescence.
  Knock on the door more than a few times and change from welcome guest, into dreaded nuisance.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Monday, June 2, 2014

continuing silence


  When i traveled to Russia a few years back, i remember that almost no one spoke English. Getting directions or assistance of any kind was a drawn out and sometimes difficult affair. Often people would just ignore me altogether because they had neither the time nor the inclination to deal with an annoying tourist. Rather than being frustrated by this aspect, i actually enjoyed it immensely.
  Being in Russia gave me a taste of invisibility. Many times in my life i have wanted to posses the power of invisibility. To become invisible is to free oneself from the public eye. The general public can't get anything from you when they can't understand you, so you become marginalized, unseen. When you cannot understand what other people are saying, you become impervious to any of their narrow thinking and caustic derision, thereby enjoying a kind of sound invisibility.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

continuing silence


  It was a great performance and everyone applauded, except me.
  The loud clapping turned into a standing ovation. I stood up, yet remained quiet.
  There was a curtain call and the adulation became uproarious. Standing there noiselessly, i watched the tumult rise and fall around me.
  As the crowd began to depart, the exiting murmur was a kind of silence all its own. Underneath it i heard someone say, "What was up with the weirdo who was next to you?"