In Appreciation of Quietude

We as people these days tend to get so caught up in things – work, family, friends – that we lose track of focus in our busy lives. For us as teenagers, we tend to deal with these problems with a pair of headphones. Some of us seek comfort in entertainment systems: video games, television, and movies. I often sit at my keyboard and make lots of noise.

And eventually, that’s what it becomes. It’s noise. If music could be defined as the organization of sound, then noise is unorganized sound. When the playlist is put on shuffle and at every song’s end, a new one begins, there is never an end. One can listen to music for hours; it is not uncommon for people to watch TV for several hours on any given day. In the end, what are we left with? Flashes of echoic memories, rushing around the brain like a slideshow on fast forward. One melody jumps into the next. One tries to concentrate on what the next person is saying, but doing so is difficult.

I’ve known people who are never without ear buds shoved into their ear canals. People sleep with headphones on all night. People read, work, and talk with music blaring straight into the brain. Music acts as their drug. It calms, soothes, and perhaps brings them on an emotional roller coaster they wouldn’t otherwise have.

I’d like to take this moment to say: take a break. There’s no need to be “obsessed” with your music. Try going a day without listening to your collection (or anyone else’s). Instead, try closing your eyes and listening to the person talking to you, concentrating on the words being said as if they were a wake up call. Music can serve as a distraction; it’s a form of entertainment, what else could it be? It should be enjoyed often, but do not overdo it. There are physical and psychological consequences to stuffing too much pressure into the ears. Let us take some time off for peace and quiet and save the music for the times when you can divert all your attention toward it.

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