Saturday, January 12, 2008

Silence is Golden

Read this on a Gem sugar packet in Athlone. In Gaelic: “Is binn béal ina thost.” In English, “Silence is golden.”

We are all of us subjected daily to an aural onslaught. Some is incidental, byproducts of the way we live. Some is intentional, targeted attempts to command our attention. Some is psychological, ploys to “set a mood” in a commercial experience. All of it is an invasion of serenity.

One wonders if we have not become that much more mentally steeled. To maintain our modicum of peace, we must subconsciously allocate mental cycles to tune out the noise now indigenous to our environment. This means we constantly expend energy to maintain a semblance of tranquility. It also means there's a brisk business done in noise-cancelling headphones.

Gold was, at one time, the coin of the realm. ‘twas precious to be sure, but far more accessible. ‘tis accessible no longer, not since the abandonment of Bretton Woods. ‘tis now a commodity, and far more dear indeed.

The same fate has befallen silence.