Friday, October 28, 2011

Maybe More Than A Moment Of Silence

If anyone has been paying attention - and I'm not convinced anyone has - I haven't been writing a whole lot on the usual matters. Instead, I've been self-indulgent, dabbling in bad photography, and finding music that I enjoy that isn't the run-of-the-mill stuff I usually post.

Because, frankly, I am tired of the noise. I'm tired of the news. I'm tired of NPR. I'm tired of CNN/FOXNews/MSNBC. I'm tired of political bloggers. I'm tired of political pundits. I'm tired of every voice sounding like every other voice, a swelling chorus that serves little more than to detract from the reality that we would be far better served listening than speaking.

I have been trying, by and large, to follow my own preferences. I have ventured forth on occasion over the past six weeks or so, but by and large I figure that silence is a far better choice, all things considered.

We all would benefit, I think, if everyone was silent. Take a day and just shut up. Don't write about Pres. Obama or Eric Cantor of Speaker Boehner or anyone else in public life. Don't write about the latest stupid celebrity trick. Don't comment on the personal hygiene or sexual preferences of one's interlocutors.

Shut up. Sit and listen. Listen to the last of the autumn birds outside your window. Listen to the creak and groan of your house settling. Listen to your children tell about their day, what they're going to wear on Halloween, what they're frustrated about at school. Listen to your spouse tell you he or she loves you. Listen to your pets as they sleep.

Listen. Don't speak or think. Silence all the voices, inside and out. Just listen.

And wonder and the beauty and awe and majesty around you. The sound of rain on the last autumn leaves. The breeze through the bare branches. The growl and grumble of the studs in your walls and across your floors as the foundation of your house slips, imperceptibly but inexorably, in to the earth. Listen to the sound of your child't heart beat when she snuggled up to you. Listen to the sound of your spouse breathing next to you.

These are the things that are important. These are the things that matter. There is power, here, the most important power, the most threatening force to all that is - the power that comes from the very real, very human ties we share with those most close to us. Nothing threatens the world more than this. Nothing is more subversive than to sit and listen and realize, with awe and a sense of one's own limitation, how grand and glorious this world is.

Because, at its heart, regardless of political stripe or color or declared ideology, the torrent of words serves only one purpose - to perpetuate our dying status quo. To stand outside of it, to declare that one will no longer feed the beast, that the most intimate, most important ties of one's life are far more important, far more dangerous, than the most clearly worded declaration of solidarity, the most righteous proclamation for justice - this is revolutionary in a way no program or leaflet or petition could ever be.

So, I sit. I listen. I venture forth on occasion, only to realize what I should have learned long ago. Most internet discussions aren't. They aren't discussions, they are attempts to sound more informed, more intelligent, more wise than everyone else. There's no percentage in that, really. Usually, one ends up looking and sounding much more like a jerk who has something to prove. I have nothing to prove, and I have no desire to look or sound like a jerk. So, I sit. I listen.

Nothing would serve the Republic more than an internet day of silence. No blog posts. No viral videos on YouTube or viral hashtage on Twitter or viral photos on Facebook. Just . . . silence.

I'm trying to lead by example. Little more than some thoughts on music I like for a couple more weeks. Maybe, then maybe, a thought or two on what I've heard, what I've learned, what might be possible. First, though, I need to do more listening.

Which means, I just need to stop . . .

Virtual Tin Cup

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