Perspectives on silence

The US public radio program “To The Best Of Our Knowledge” (TTBOOK) recently repeated an hour-long segment on silence titled “Taking Comfort in the Sound of Silence.” The program features several segments, the descriptions below are from the program.

These versions of silence are not explicitly eremitic but are certainly interesting applications. Norwegian writer and adventurer Erling Kagge wrote of his South Pole experience in Alone to the South Pole (1993). He has written a 2016 book Silence in the Age of Noise and, most recently, Walking: One Step At A Time, both recommended to Hermitary readers. The role of silence in the works of John Cage have been addressed here: https://www.hermitary.com/solitude/cage.html

The Contemplative Silence of A Long Cold Journey
In 1993, Norwegian explorer Erling Kagge made history by becoming the first person to cross Antarctica alone. He was by himself for fifty days and during his trek, he learned a lot about the power of silence and the importance of making time for it in our noisy, hectic lives.

A Nature Preserve For The Quiet Of Nature

If you’re looking for silence here in the U.S., you might want to visit “One Square Inch of Silence.” It’s a spot inside the Hoh Rain Forest in Washington State’s Olympic National Park. Acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton created it, as part of his life mission to record the sound of silence.

The Volume of Absolute Silence
The world is getting noisier and it’s hurting us. When George Mickelson Foy got worried about all of the toxic noise in his life, he set on a quest for absolute silence.

The Tale of A Mute Piano Performance
John Cage’s “4’33” was first performed on August 29th, 1952, by pianist David Tudor. He came out on stage, sat at the piano, and did not play. The audience was not impressed. Kyle Gann tells the story in “No Such Thing as Silence.”

A Silent Soliloquy From The World’s Greatest Mime
For more than 60 years, the great French mime Marcel Marceau dominated stages around the world without ever saying a word. Shawn Wen documents Marceau’s story in a book-length essay called “A Twenty Minute Silence Followed by Applause.”

The Pauses Between Chords of Iconic Rock and Roll
For author Jennifer Egan — whose novel “A Visit From The Goon Squad” documents the inner life of lifelong rock and roll stars—the pauses in rock ballads might say as much or more than the riffs.

URL: https://www.ttbook.org/show/taking-comfort-sound-silence

Bill Porter update

Update on Bill Porter — translator of Chinese and Buddhist classics and China traveler, and author of Road to Heaven: Encounters With Chinese Hermits — in China.org.cn, titled “Drawn in the beauty of solitude – a life inspired by Chinese poetry.” Porter’s most recent visit to China centered around his latest book, Paradise of the Mind, on ancient poet Tao Yuanming or Tao Chien. The article reviews Porter’s travels and reflections, concluding:

Considering his age, Porter [he is 75] has decided to settle down and stop his wanderings. Together with some friends, he is preparing to open a meditation center in Seattle.

“The best things in life are things that can make the world stop,” he says. “I found it in Chinese culture, and I would like to share that.”

URL: http://www.china.org.cn/arts/2018-05/25/content_51518212.htm

Introverts encouraged

A couple of introversion life-style pieces for a popular audience: “Living as an Introvert in an Extrovert World” in The Week addresses the social angle, while “Introverts, Hermits, And The Shy: Here’s Your Map To Success” in Forbes interviews a writer focused on jobs and careers.

Introverts will recognize the socializing issues immediately. The jogs and careers issues are more of a challenge. Since the 2012 appearance of the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain, a number of essays and articles have tried to “rehabilitate” introverts, to reassure them that they, too, can embrace the world of competition and claw their way to upward nobility. Usually this tact is addressed when discussing mental health like stress and burn-out and coping methods that poorly imitate meditation, and can be offensive. But more sensitive articles emphasize the existence of jobs that introverts actually like, occupations not quite as solitary as historically solitary jobs of lighthouse keepers or charcoal burners, of course. And that is the key. Introverts in occupations that highlight their mental or tactile skills versus their personality tip the perception of others favorably. But in the world of higher competition usually favored by magaines like Forbes, no safe advice is guaranteed.

URL: http://theweek.com/articles/747284/living-introvert-extroverts-world (The Week); https://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinkruse/2018/01/03/introverts-hermits-and-the-shy-heres-your-map-to-success/#1ed6bc3ec6a2 (Forbes)

Joseph Plummer, New Hampshire hermit

The life and story of a 18th-century New Hampshire (US) hermit is recreated in a new book by Amani Willetts titled The Disappearance of Joseph Plummer. The book uses narrative, photography, and archival material to recreate the mystery.

“Before he left society for a life in the woods he [Plummer] was basically anonymous,” Willett said. “It was his act of leaving that turned him into a myth. Paradoxically, his desire to become invisible has only fueled people’s interest in his life.”

URL: https://hyperallergic.com/400898/amani-willett-photo-portrait-joseph-plummer/

Amos Wilson, Pennsylvania hermit

The article “The Pennsylvania Hermit: The Woeful Tale of a Grieving Brother’s Broken-hearted Hermitage,” in Ancient Origins, retells the story of Amos Wilson, who abandoned society in 19th-century Pennsylvania upon the execution of his sister for alleged murder of her infant out of wedlock. Wilson had gained the state governor’s pardon for her but arrived too late to save her. Both brother and sister are said to haunt the grounds where they resided.

See an early blog entry on Wison’s reported essay, Sweets of Solitude, here: http://hermitary.com/around/?p=18

URL: http://www.ancient-origins.net/history-famous-people/pennsylvania-hermit-woeful-tale-grieving-brother-s-broken-hearted-hermitage-021711?nopaging=1