As January is ‘Get a Balanced Life’ month, we think of resolutions and goals for the year ahead and how to find balance in our own lives. We’re focusing on the balance between activity and calm and have chosen a title focusing on the balance between two arch rivals – silence and noise.
Millions of words have been written in praise of silence and, in this short read, Norwegian adventurer and philosopher Erling Kagge adds his voice to the chorus.
Kagge’s new book ‘Silence – In The Age of Noise’ is a meditation on stillness and the value in taking time to disconnect from the swirling noise of the modern world. The book is a collection of micro-essays on the subject, essays which include a variety of memories, reflections and quotations. There are thoughts on family, relationships, exploration, philosophy, as well as quotes and input from personalities ranging from Emily Dickinson to Elon Musk, from Martin Heidegger to Marina Abramavoic.
For Kagge, the secret to a successful appreciation of quiet moments, is less in set routines and prescriptible activities, than in assessing the mental habits that go with the modern age. He argues that silence is there all the time, and that people avoid it because it’s easy to do so. To live through the noise of TVs, phones, computers and tablets and all their distractions is much easier than reverting to silence. If you can pause, he says, you can stop trying to relate to what is going on around you and try to relate to yourself.
“In those pauses, you will meet yourself, and sometimes these are the toughest meetings you can have in life.” – Erling Kagge