The Indie Pen Dance: Let’s Talk.
Hello, everyone, and welcome to the beautiful month of February. A thousand apologies for not publishing last week- I picked up an unfortunate sickness that rendered me completely useless to society for about a week. Fun stuff. Anyway.
A few hours ago, I didn’t know what I was going to write this post about. Fortunately, after a rather rousing discussion in my “Cross Cultural Communication” class at 9:30am Monday morning, I was able to find a coherent thought that might create an enjoyable post. In my class, we were in the midst of a discussion about the book that we had just finished (The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman). It discussed the ordeal of a Hmong Laotian family who had a severely epileptic daughter, and was centered around the culture shock and differences that take place rather obviously between the highland Hmong culture and Western medicine. It was a very lively discussion, and at some point, I was able to make a revelation: In the United States, if there is silence when there is an opportunity to be sound, we become uncomfortable.
It is obvious that we consider sound to be a sign of life. When a child is born, and it does not cry after the airway is cleared, we immediately assume the worst. When we are being examined in a medical office, do we not make audible signals that we are in pain (whimpering, screaming, etc.)? We scream when surprised, and scream in anger; It is a natural instinct that has been ingrained and has evolved into our being since we creatures in the deepest and darkest of jungles. We also look to be pacified through audible compliments. If we have done a good job, we we expect to be audibly complimented by others. We will compliment strangers in the middle of dead silences, finding features that appeal only slightly to us so that the silence is broken. This behavior of random and arbitrary compliments has been created by society as a way to maintain civility.
But what about silence? There is nothing wrong with silence. Before we learn to talk, we depend on the audible cues of someone else without producing our own. There was a time when we could get away with not saying anything; but by the time we turn into toddlers, our parents are teaching us how to say please and thank you, enforcing the idea that we are supposed to maintain polite behavior and social niceties in every situation. We are taught to say only nice things to strangers whom we have never talked to before- and if someone has broken the seal of silence by saying something we deem negative, we are allowed to profane as much as we wish. It is the evil of that seal that can create something terrible.
Will be there be a time when we can regain our silence? Sometimes, it is desired to simply remain silent in situations when saying something would be mindless chatter. It wouldn’t be contributing anything truly constructive to society. When it comes to silence, perhaps we should embrace the “Pulp Fiction” mentality.
Last 5 posts by shetrick
- The Indie Pen Dance: The Long Haul - March 28th, 2012
- The Indie Pen Dance: Semi-Apathetic Discord - March 7th, 2012
- The Indie Pen Dance: "X" Marks the Spot - February 22nd, 2012
- The Indie Pen Dance: 3 Reasons Why You Should Choose “Archer” - January 25th, 2012
- The Indie Pen Dance: Home Is Where the Hate Is. - January 18th, 2012