Part of the deal as an apprentice in The Arcanum is each week we are presented with a weekly challenge by our master, and with each weekly challenge, in addition to finding images based on a theme, we are to find a term that relates to creativity in some way (however broad is up to us) and research that term and what we found out about it. So while I was trying to think of what term I wanted to research for my first weekly challenge, I found myself navigating my way through the eternal Facebook stream of doom, looking for a post I saw earlier from a friend that I wanted to comment on, and all I could see are BE SCARED EBOLA OBAMA DEMOCRAPUBLICANS TERRORISM EBOLA LIBERAL HELL WRATH CONSERVATIVE RACIST FIRE DOOM DIE OH YEAH AND EBOLA when all I could think to myself was, ‘shut up already!’ So, that was the birth of the term I wanted to research for my first weekly challenge in The Arcanum: Silence.
Needless to say, I knew that silence had a much broader meaning than just the lack of noise, but I was completely surprised to see that in the official Wikipedia post about silence (let’s face it, Wikipedia is the new Encyclopedia Britannica - for those of you that remember that monstrosity…), the meaning of silence has broadened to accept:
"total communication, in reference to nonverbal communication and spiritual connection.”
Wow. Spiritual connection? Communication through silence?
And not only that, but this:
“...as a culture Westerners shy away from silence because it is fearful to be in quiet.”
"This instinct is created from our culture where mixed medias play constantly, emerging technologies force us to drop everything and respond and the daily life is polluted with noises all around us effecting our health.”
And that’s just from the first few lines. And it was those first few lines that explained it all - the same week that an article came out saying that the first actual diagnosis of phone addiction has been made, and that techno-addiction is now an actual ‘thing.’
It’s not that we don’t want the silence, we’re actually biologically afraid of it.
And I can understand it. And I can more than understand exactly how the mass media plays on that fear. We literally wouldn’t know what to do with ourselves if every newscaster and ‘expert’ and ‘pundit’ and ‘respected personality’ one day just got on the air and said “Oh, there ain’t a darned thing going on today. It’s all good. We’re just going to chill.” Ironically, we’d freak out and wonder what was wrong rather than what they were telling us, that’s all’s right! We probably wouldn’t even allow ourselves a moment of silence to take it in.
And apparently, and scientifically, that’s because we’re afraid. We’re literally afraid of what we might have to face if we weren’t constantly faced with madness and psychotica from all directions at all times. If we didn’t have distraction after distraction from distraction after distraction. The fact that things can actually be…all good. The crazy part is, things are better now than they ever have been in human history. There is actual quantifiable evidence showing less war, destruction, famine, and death today than at any time in human history.
But we would never know it now would we?
I couldn’t help but think, perhaps if we spent more time in silence, that reality might take hold.
Process that: things are better now than they ever have been.
So chill out y’allz…it’s all good.
Now how does this have anything to do with photography or art or the Arcanum? I have no idea or real good answer for that. I suppose the best I could do is that I feel we should be paying just as much attention, if not more, to the good in life, than all the seemingly inescapable bad. It can, apparently, have profound impacts on our health, both physical and mental. And I can only imagine it could serve the impetus for some pretty incredibly beautiful art!
Now let's shut up and make stuff!