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85° Partlycloudy, 9.6mph SSE

Not the absence of sound, the absence of noise

Listen: Gordon Hempton on sound, silence, and listening.

And how do you explain that?

The explanation really goes all the way to silence. When we can speak in silence, you can hear not just my words, but you can hear my tone, what I mean even beyond the words. In fact, it’s really not the words that are important. It’s the tone. It’s the overall message, the context. When we’re in a noisy place in urban environments, we become isolated and we exhibit antisocial behavior because we are cut off from a level of intimacy with each other and we’re less in touch. We’re busy not listening to this, not seeing that, not doing that. We aren’t opening up and being where we are.