Why do we fear silence and solitude?

Eric Lacombe – The Weight of Silence

“We come from a generation of people who need their TV or stereo playing all the time. These people so scared of silence. These soundaholics, these quietophobics.”

(Chuck Paluhniak)

“My solitude does not depend on the presence or the absence of people, on the contrary, I hate who steals my solititude without in exchange offering me true company.”

(Friedrich Nietzsche)

I’ve often wondered why so many of us are afraid of silence and solitude?

Is it because we have been surrounded by artificial types of noise from such a young age, that we now crave its presence at every moment in our adult lives?

Or is it that people simply fear sitting on their own, with themselves. And, that any type of noise – even it is of little substance and value – gives them a temporary, superficial feeling of company.

Maybe the noise provides a distraction and a protective barrier, without which many would begin to listen to their inner voices, be confronted with uncomfortable truths about themselves, and actually begin to grow as contemplative beings?

How do people get to the stage where their own company is not adequate enough for themselves? So much so

that they would rather sit and consume the sound of anyone or anything but themselves. What a scary thought that is – to be so bored, stifled, petrified of one’s own Self, that you would so cheaply dispense your presence to anything.

Silence and solitude is beautiful, and I am captivated by the company of my Self. The silence grants me precious moments where the pointless noise is blocked out. I have been able to ponder, listen patiently to the questions of my own soul, to talk to it, to ask questions of it. I have discovered dark truths about myself and about the world around me, which for so long had remained hidden beneath all the noise.

It is then in this silence and solitude that I have been able to blend my questions, my truths, my memories, my dreams and began to create something.

I understand that noise and empty company is the enemy of any creative process. And this is perhaps why the human being child, intrinsically imaginative and creative is slowly reduced to an unimaginative, uncreative, unoriginal entity. The world is filled mostly with these quietophobics. They hate silence. Addicted and enslaved to the noise, they crave its presence at every moment of their life, even if it of no real worth to their existence.

So I ask you quietophobics, soundaholics, slaves to the pings of your phones and gadgets, bewitched by the chatter on your TV, those who dread to sit for a moment alone, strangers to the voices of your own soul, to leave us in peace with our silence, so that we may listen to the precious sounds contained within it that end up being swallowed by your noise.

As I finish writing these last sentences, let me listen:

To the slow movement of the hands of the clock, so that I am reminded of the impermanence of my life, and the urgency with which I should pursue my dreams, as time continues to slip through my fingers the harder I try to hold onto it…