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.

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Art, only after a lifetime of experiences.

Picasso

Maybe this happened, maybe it didn’t. Do the facts even matter, when the truth is so illuminating?

Legend has it that Pablo Picasso was sketching in the park when a brave woman approached him.

“Oh my — It’s Picasso, the great artist! Oh, would you be kind enough to sketch my portrait for me?”

Picasso agreed to sketch her. After studying her for a moment, he used a few pencil strokes to create her portrait in a few minutes. He handed the woman his work of art.

“It’s perfect!” she gushed.  “You managed to capture my essence with a few strokes, in such little time. Thank you! How much do I owe you?”

“That will be ten thousand dollars” Picasso replied.

The woman was floored.

“Ten thousand dollars! How can you want so much money for it? Why, it only took you a few minutes to draw this sketch!”

To which, Picasso replied, “No, madam. It took me thirty years of my life to be able to draw like that.”

May I propose a Herzog dictum? Those who read own the world, and those who watch television lose it.

When legendary filmmaker Werner Herzog was asked about any advice that he could share with aspiring young filmmakers, his response – in his trademark thick Bavarian accent was along the lines of:

“Read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read…”

There was no mention about the viewing of films. Naturally, this was not surprising for a man who did not encounter the television till his late teens, and devoted most of his years of youth traversing borders by foot, gaining more than a lifetime of memorable experiences. He then went onto independently write, direct and produce the most original films ever made, in the most inhospitable environments known to man.

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