By Rick Rotante
Many of us are frightened of silence. Not having some sound invading our conscience is unsettling. Our lives are filled with extraneous sounds. Not natural sounds; it’s more noise than sounds. We feel anxious and get lost if left to wander in our mind. I think it’s a Western phenomenon: silence is akin to being alone. Being alone is different than feeling alone. We shun silence out of fear. To be one with yourself, you need silence. In fact: welcome it. It goes hand-inhand with my belief of Yin / Yang. Too much of anything is harmful. Noise keeps us from thinking serious things. It interrupts the brain waves. With no silence in our life, I think it would be difficult to accomplish worthwhile things. Superficial things don’t take much thought, so noise can be tolerated. When exploring your inner self, noise is a distraction and cannot be tolerated if you expect to understand what you are learning.
There are countless studies that show we are not hard wired to multi-task. For those who still believe this statement is not true in this fast paces world, I have startling news for you. You can’t! It has been shown that our brain can only concentrate on one thing at a time. We only focus on one thing at a time. Everything else is actually a blur. Suffice it to say we really don’t multi-task. We really concentrate on one thing at a time to the exclusion of the other tasks at hand.
Silence is golden is not just a phrase. It’s a way to introspection; a way to see into our soul. It gives you time to regroup; to put aside the “noises” in our life and focus on important thoughts.
Art gives me the silence I need, not only to create, but also to put things right if only temporarily. Balance in life is essential for well-being. There is time for noise but there needs also to be times for silence. Artists know this to be true. When creating art, one needs to have peace of mind. Creating art is a combination of things; one being a connection to the work at hand. Another is a need to listen to the work as it progresses. It takes full concentration. I’ve said before that art is a communication. If one is shouting all the time, one is not listening. Over the years, I’ve learned that even a radio playing in the background interferes with my creative process. I’ve seen artists working with blaring music and sounds that would cause a regular person to cringe. But, I also noticed the work being created was also chaotic, frenetic, frenzied. In that case, the loud music was the catalyst for the work, it was a contributing factor. The artist deliberately didn’t want to think. His efforts were meant to be impulsive, instinctive, and chaotic. The results, needless to say was a chaotic work. But, when he considered the results, he was quiet.