About Silence, Natural and Forced

 Does silence find you or do you find your silence?

Working n-th time as a lecturer at the university, you have to deal with the problem of silence in the classroom. You face the same problem in the field of retreat practice. Recent events have prompted me to ask questions about what silence is and whether its accelerated implementation is possible.

Let’s start from the begining …

Silence is the opposite of noise and rumbling, but not sound. Screams, loud speech, ringtones and ringing of cars, I’ll take to the noise, but the sound of the wind or the singing of a bird, or the rustling of waves – this is the sounds of nature, close to silence in a greater degree, rather than to stressful noise.

It is supposed (so, it is true, but it is not entirely clear by whom it became true) that in classrooms and retreat spaces (retreats for philosophical practice, for example) there should be silence. Silence can be different. Only when it should be, it becomes the same.

And now let’s go from the opposite: why silence is disturbed in classrooms and retreat spaces. The simplest answers is because the process is boring or incomprehensible. An easy replica or question of one creates a wave response, when several people enter into making noise.

But you need silence! In the student room – for learning the material, in the retreat – for more insights. How to implement it?

And here we reach the fork. It seems that the simplest way is to interest the audience, to make the process not boring and incomprehensible. But as practice shows, many lecturers and even philosophical practicioners cannot get out of the shackles of the panopticon, and therefore they prevent taboos and prohibitions: you can not use telephones, talk, ask “uncomfortable” questions and generally publish any noises not regulated by the situation; otherwise, please, leave the room; we “marked you”, withdrew from your group, partly disgraced.

The purpose of this whole action is clear, we are moving to the desired silence. The questions only remain: how do we move and what will we come to?

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