Can anyone ever experience absolute silence? Like isolate every single sound around you-including the hum of the fridge, the whirling of the wind or even your own quiet breathing? I don’t think that it is possible. Interestingly, people that have colour synaesthesia can see sounds as colours. So, if silence is really is a sound, what colour do these people see? I personally don’t think that absolute silence does not exist. But silence can be considered sound. When there is relative silence around me, my mind does not stop working though. I am thinking, remembering and sorting and that involves sound. I remember the sound of the chair scarping the ground or the sound of the coffee grinder in the morning. I don’t actually hear it but I remember it and that still is sound, so I don’t think that anyone can really, actually, truly experience silence. Sound is everywhere and even in silence we are experimenting with the sounds in our head. Many people actually practice what they are going to say aloud in their heads first before they actually say it in front of somebody. It’s a practice that most people are accustomed to and it revolves around the sounds in silence. They know what they are going to say and sound like and they mull it over in their heads before they say it aloud. I would know because I do, do that sometimes, especially when getting ready to do a presentation. Sounds are omnipresent and it’s pretty hard for you to separate yourselves from them. There are some meditational practices that try to separate sound and encompass you with silence which helps the etheric body. These are however, very sketchy and I don’t personally believe in them. Sounds make us feel alive, alert and aware of our surroundings. Our senses are heightened because of the sounds we hear around us every day. Memories, remembrances and thoughts are constantly triggered by the sounds and noises we hear on a daily basis and therefore they do play an important role in our lives. Silence also does the same and so silence in a sense is a type of sound though, essentially it is void of any sound. To test this theory I want to practice one of silence meditations. I want to try surrounding myself in silence for 10 minutes a day and see what happens. Do I still hear sounds around me or do I create the allusions to sounds around me?
So, I decided to listen to the small podcast of where the actual language of Dr. Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech is removed. All you hear during the podcast are sounds of scraping, distant voices and then the roar of applause that comes from the audience during the speech. There’s this idea that something this important such as this speech doesn’t actually lose its meaning even after removing the language. I know it sounds weird though… it’s usually the language and words that attribute the meaning and importance of something. But here, even though the actual language is gone the sounds of the applause, the shifting of paper and the distant noises all connate to something of great importance. Sometimes it’s not even the actual words that carry the meaning of something; sometimes it’s the little things that actually convey great importance. The gaps in between the Dr. King’s voices in the recording also indicate at some abruptness and urgency. The sounds indicate at the seriousness and importance of the speech even though there aren’t any actual words being said. Listening to this podcast made me realize the importance of sound even if it just is the background sounds that nobody listens to. Sounds carry meaning, emotion and communicate a message. Sounds and words almost have identical functions but they do both connote things. This could be used as a basis for a sound activity. If you took an audio piece and did no editing to it whatsoever, would it still retain its same understanding and meaning? If you had an audio of a serious topic and you had constant whispering in the background, would the message still be strong or would it be stronger if it had none of the whispering? To what extent do the background and foreground noises contribute to the overall meaning of a piece? These questions could be investigated by doing that activity and asking people about what they think and looking at these observations.