The Sound of Silence

“Hello darkness, my old friend, I've come with talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping, left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain, still remains
Within the sound of silence”

At the reunion of Simon and Garfunkel, on September 19, 1981, they planned to close the concert with The Sound of Silence though they ultimately played Late in The Evening for an encore. For human beings, or as Desmond Morris would have it, naked apes, the faculty of speech is a defining feature. Language is central not only to the communication between humans but to the sense of identity that unites cultures and ethnicities. When Simon and Garfunkel played that night at Central Park though, it was more than language that connected them to the multitude of fans around. Music, they say, is universal. When the duo reunited again after 20 years to sing at the Grammies in 2002, the song they chose was The Sound of Silence, a song that practically defined a generation. There is something insightfully honest in the music that keeps you guessing whether the sound of silence is within or without you. Like the first beats of the song invite instant recall and applause from, we as individuals communicate much before we ever really say anything.

Communicating through the audio and visual media are the most prevalent and effective means that we use to communicate. What we are actually doing is attempting to appeal to the emotional faculties of fellow human beings. With little practice, one will realise that emotions being what they are, appealing to them is done more effectively without the need or use of these ‘traditional’ media, but a much deeper level, negating the barriers of environment and perception. As Paul Simon said in the middle of the concert, “Well, you know we wanted to have fireworks tonight, but ah, they wouldn't let us have that, so we'll make our own fireworks here.” It’s the ability to make your own fireworks that is a true measure of your effectiveness as a communicator.

And when speaking of communication in terms of reaching the emotional core and doing away with the popular definitions, one strikes upon a communication which is more vital and more prevalent than any other, but which is left largely ignored in studies of communication. The communication an individual has with himself or herself, intra-personal communication. For it is only through self-analysis and meditative contemplation, by conversing with yourself that you can hope to grow from the knowledge and experience that the act of communication is meant to aid.

“In restless dreams I walked alone, narrow streets of cobblestone
‘Neath the halo of a streetlamp, I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light, split the night
And touched the sound of silence”

At the same time, in the understanding that communication is a two-way process, we must approach each new communication with a fresh perspective, shedding any past perceptions we carry with us. One must not only listen, but hear, not simply talk, but speak, and not only receive, but assimilate that which is being communicated.

“Fool, said I, you do not know, silence, like a cancer, grows
Hear my words and I might teach you, take my arms then I might reach you
But my words, like silent raindrops fell, and echoed in the wells of silence”

One is immediately reminded of the story of the university professor went to visit a famous Zen master. While the master quietly served tea, the professor talked about Zen. The master poured the visitor's cup to the brim, and then kept pouring. The professor watched the overflowing cup until he could no longer restrain himself. "It's overfull! No more will go in!" the professor blurted. "You are like this cup," the master replied, "How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup."

Top 5 Sounds
Alok Silence, Baby cooing, Birds chirping, Soft music, Whistling
Animesh Sea waves, wind blowing, Stammering child, ring of my mobile, sound of my mom
Anshul The cuckoo, Hemant Kumar, sea waves, a Ferrari in full throttle, Silence
Gurpreet Music of Pink Floyd, My Bike throttle, Birds, Whispers, Lohris
Siddhartha Waves slapping the beach, a bumbling brook, soft rain on a tin roof, strains of familiar music seeping through, the sound of a tree falling in a Forrest with no one there to hear it