Silence, absolutely!

Isn’t that what the teacher said to your class many times? But can absolute, total silence be achieved?

Isn’t that what the teacher said to your class many times? But can absolute, total silence be achieved?

Of course if you deaf, you are definitely in a noiseless world. Interestingly, whereas some people desire to be in a quiet environment as they consider it peaceful, others run away from silence claiming that they cannot bear it! They believe that if it is too quiet they can hear their thoughts and conscience and what they get is uncomfortable for them. Others say noise is for company. The sound of another human voice blaring over the radio or T.V is soothing to their loneliness apparently. So immediately one enters a car or room they switch on the radio or T.V so that they can be distracted.

As for me, I relish the idea of being able to enjoy some peace and quiet and get a chance to think things through. Thinking is hard, right?

One of the quietest places in the world was manmade one found in Minnesota, United States of America. It is a manmade anechoic (no echoes or reverberations) chamber that was constructed using steel and concrete. In this darkened room you can actually hear your heat beating, yourself breathing and your stomach digesting food because there is nothing else to listen to – only utter silence!

However, topping the noiseless list is an office at the Microsoft’s head offices, in Washington. In here, you can hear; ‘your blood pumping and your bones creaking as you move.’ Sounds scary, doesn’t it? The purpose of the chamber is to help test especially the sound aspects of the technology that computers are comprised of. Its soundlessness is way below the human ears to pick up sounds – in other words if there is a sound in there your ears cannot hear it because it is way too low for you to pick it.

Apparently, when visitors get into these chambers, they can only stay for a very short time; one hour at most. Not because they have been chased out by anyone, but the lack of noise unsettles them and out they come. Our ears are so used to the myriad of sounds that bombard us everyday that we don’t always pay attention to them, we mute them out, but they are still surrounding us. However, when there are no sounds at all, then one definitely feels deprived and starts to notice the quiet.

That makes me think that, perhaps, some sound is good for our ears. So, can absolute quiet be achieved in a class?

Lois Nakibuuka is an educator and counsellor