15 Sep Riddle Me That, Riddle Me This – Is Silence Bliss?
Did you notice how noisy the world is? I’m not referring to the traffic alone, but how every place is screaming with information. Just think about it – the minute you open your eyes, you get saturated with notifications for social platforms, work emails, appointment requests, deadlines that need to be met, the needs of your family, house chores that are patiently waiting, a pet that wants your attention – everything attacks your mind at once.
It is a mystery to me how it hasn’t become a regular thing for people to burst into tears each morning. Not only does each piece of information need to be processed, but there’s also a necessity for answers and feedback. Some people deal with this by screaming back, perhaps an occasional panic attack, or therapy sessions.
However, all these solutions are related to the consequences, not their source. Finding a filter to deal with the amount of information your brain receives on a daily basis is one thing – it’s dealing with the never-ending inflow of words, the amount of which just keeps increasing, that’s potentially problematic. And what happens when that filter becomes insufficient?
Why Are Millennials Texting?
I don’t think I’m the only one who noticed this problem. With the age of millennials, a lot of changes occurred that can’t be a coincidence. So, this generation was born when the whole globe got connected – the world was already loud when they got here. Interestingly enough, millennials prefer texting than making calls – why’s that?
Texting is my preferable way of communicating, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a work-related matter or simply talking to friends. At some point I came to the realization that people are messy when talking on the phone.
My experience showed that it’s usually because they are trying to multitask. It doesn’t really matter if a person you’re talking to is picking up groceries or just saying “Hi” to someone they’ve met while walking – it’s still enough of a distraction.
So, while making a call, and instead of getting a piece of information you’re in need of, you actually get to listen to a disoriented mind that is trying to form a sentence. In numerous situations, this leads to misunderstandings. For instance – about the precise time I need to meet someone.
So I figured that if I were to transfer most of the communication to text apps, it would be different – and it is. Not only are the conversations left in a transcribed version, so you can always remind yourself or check something, but it also happens that people are investing more effort into writing than talking.
I presume it has something to do with having your thoughts not only verbalized but also visualized. It’s there in front of you. Therefore – if you see that is doesn’t make any sense, you’ll give it more thought. Millennials got it right.
The New Age of Silent Film
It’s not just them, by the way. Not talking seems to work for Facebook users as well – however ironical this may be. Whenever I scroll my News Feed without any purpose (which probably happens too often), I see a bunch of videos. In the beginning, this kind of bothered me – it takes way too long to learn about something watching a video in my opinion. But now, when Facebook is saturated with them, I managed to accept them under one condition – no sound.
And this is a bit odd, because most of the videos I decide to watch are about dancing, which is what I do with my free time. So, I find myself watching a muted video of a brilliant couple dancing. Interestingly enough, Facebook reports eight billion video views on a daily basis – 85% of which are watched without sound. It’s not coincidental that some videos begin with “turn the volume up” or that they are subtitled even if the language used in them is English.
Obviously, I’m not the only one who enjoys some peace and quiet, even if it’s counter-productive. Silent videos aren’t the only popular type of content – everything that isn’t making sounds is welcome, obviously. GIFs, animations, memes; as long as it doesn’t talk, we like it.
So, all of you who’ve always wanted to live in the era of silent movies can stop experiencing nostalgia – it’s happening as we speak. Well not speak – write in my case, and read in yours fortunately.
Embellishment of the Truth
I experienced another interesting phenomenon recently – it’s much more difficult to embellish the truth when speaking a foreign language. Just so we’re clear, I’m not talking about lying, but about exactly that – embellishing. In everyday conversations, it’s simple for us to lie and we all do it whether we’re talking to our colleagues or someone we just met on the street.
“How are you?”, asked the person with no real interest in the true wellbeing of their interlocutor while trying to make small talk.
“Ah, just fine,” answered the person thinking about why their colleague behaved rudely today, the list of groceries they need to pick up on the way home, where the divorce papers are waiting for their signature.
Obviously, this isn’t challenging to pull off in a foreign language. However, meeting a new person from your surroundings differs from meeting a person who speaks a different language. Considering that I experienced the latter, I found that it’s a lot more difficult to be subtle in that situation.
Because of the lack of diversity in vocabulary, your mind automatically grasps the first word that pops up, without deciding if there’s a more elegant variation of it. That word is usually raw, without layers made out of euphemisms to cover it up. Thus – more meaningful.
Whether you’re doing this consciously or not, the words you use in your native language are usually an embellishment of the truth in some way. When forming a sentence, it’s like you’re making a maze which leads to the actual piece of information you primarily wanted to share. So – it’s just some more meaningless words. Words everywhere.
With this conclusion of mine, it’s no wonder that people are tired of listening. An everyday conversation seems to be a riddle, and who has time for solving enigmas when there’s not even enough time to process every word that reaches your ears?
So – riddle me that, riddle me this – is silence a bliss? In the age of technology where it couldn’t be easier to get a hold of any piece of information you might possibly need, the generation of millennials is texting, while the most popular content online is mute.
Too many words are being thrown around without a particular target or a defined meaning, which is why we’re seeking salvation in silence, like watching muted dance videos, however absurd or illogical that may be.