“Nothing has changed the nature of man so much as the loss of silence.”
The Swiss philosopher Max Picard said that, and New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd repeated it yesterday in a much-discussed column on the power of silence.
She also shares this quote, which I love, from Michel Haznavicius, the director of “The Artist,” a new film about a silent movie star:
“I compare [silence] to the zero in mathematics. People think it’s nothing, but actually it’s not. It can be very powerful.”
Take a look!
A highly appropriate poem I just discovered, by John S. Hoyland:
“For thy great gift, O Father,
We thank Thee today-
The gift of silence;
For the rich, warm generous silence
We thank Thee,
Wherein our souls,
Stunted and shrivelled and starved
In the arid desert of everyday hurry and strain,
May rest, and quietly grow, and expand
Upward to Thee.”
The silence of the movie she talks about in her article reminds me of this exquisite, sad, tiny little movie that is almost completely told in silence.
Thanks for the link to this intense little film. I love Benedict Cumberbatch (he’s in TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY right now).
I know. And “War Horse” and “Sherlock” and “The Hobbit”… Can’t wait to see all of them.
Thanks for posting this nice item; I’d missed it in the Times. I saw THE ARTIST the other day and absolutely loved it (here’s my brief review for people with questions about it http://reelanswers.net). The person in front of me in the theater was apparently bored by the movie (which isn’t actually silent; there’s a very lively orchestral soundtrack) and spent much of the time looking at her cellphone. While the phone wasn’t noisy, the light from it and the whole idea of reading your phone while at a top-notch movie was so annoying I asked her to switch it off. She did so, very reluctantly. It’s scary how intrusive and addicting these “silent” smartphones are turning out to be.
More on the death of silence from the NYTimes: “Oh, for the Good Old Days of Rude Cellphone Gabbers”
Great quote! I hear about the power of silence a lot in Toastmasters as well, and the impact that the “pause” can have. Silence can be a powerful tool.