"Silent retreats, silent restaurants and even silent dating events are on the rise. Now a new film aims to – quietly – spread the word."
Discomfort is precisely where the radical power of silence lies, says Matthew Adams, a lecturer in psychology at the University of Brighton. “Silence is often something we experience as uncomfortable, as a rupture in the social fabric, an awkwardness we want to cover over with our voices.” Five of the best meditation apps Read more Adams has a long-term interest in the social, cultural and psychological significance of silence, and particularly in shared silence and electing to share silence. “Collective silence is about connecting with others in a way that gets underneath social conventions. It confronts us with what it feels like to be in the physical presence of other human beings without any games, strategies, reading or misreading of intentions. It is a temporary suspension of our reliance on talk.”
Silence assumes a new meaning in an era in which we are consuming information and engaging in conversation with each other endlessly, without ever opening our mouths. While we may watch The Pursuit of Silence and enjoy the absence of sound, how many of us will be tempted to check in with our emails, tweet our thoughts on the film? While we might find pleasure in those rare and cherished moments of peace and quiet, when it comes to silence and stillness, can we muster up the self-restraint at all?