The World Health Organization has defined noise pollution a “modern plague” because “there is indisputable evidence that exposure to environmental noise has negative effects on the health of the population”.
The human being needs silence to live well. Silence has become a rarity tin our increasingly noisy cities. In the Western world we run away from the noise ,wearing a noise canceling headphones or participating at yoga meditation sessions.
In India, the population went to the streets to demand the right to silence, against honking cars and motorbikes.
Meanwhile, the technology is studying and putting devices on the market to soundproof environments taking advantage of the wireless vibration, but also bracelets that replicate the heartbeat to remove stress from the brain, caused by the surrounding noise.
A ingenious publicity tourism office in Finland to attract tourists to Finland with slogans about silence, depicting views of unspoiled nature. It is the same principle that inspired the Benedictine monks of Pluscarden Abbey, Scotland, to open the doors of the convent, which dates from the thirteenth century, to anyone who wants to spend a few nights (or months) in complete tranquility.
The silence, in short, has become a business.
This business grows with the noise of the cities. depicting views of silent nature. The silence, in short, has become a business.
Repubblica talked with ALESSANDRA FRIGERIO, PSYCHOLOGIST WITH a PhD in cognitive and clinical social psychology, is a professor at the University of Milano-Bicocca and the Sigmund Freud University.
“In the hyper-connected world and in the noisy society we live in, is there really an increased demand for silence?”
AF: “There is a high quest to get to silence. These requests are answered, for example in meditation classes, yoga retreats, relaxing drive.”
“However, there are ways to live the silence, that allow access to its own needs through structures and standardized methodologies, like e.g. silent fast food.”
What can silence be?
AF: “People often perceive it is repressed by silence, because silence can represent a heavy experience. Be in silence means dealing with an apparent void, with a series of enigmatic aspects of unresolved questions. Our tendency is therefore to fill the silence with noise (ed. music e.g. in stores, bars or on the beach) or repetitive meaningless talking. Silence confront us with the limits of language. It is the space of the unspoken, what we fail to express with words.!”
Effects on mental well-being
AF:“In the past, many psychologists have shown that silence serves to foster creativity. The brain cells regenerate and, in the hippocampus area a development of new cells that can become neurons is made possible that help boost memory and learning. “
silence is essential for the healthy development of a child?
AF: “In this regard, silence is essential for the healthy development of a child. A parent who knows how to give the silence, as well as the words, shows the child the significance of absence, which is as important as the presence. In addition, leave the child in an empty space, in the silence, where even you can get bored, so need to be able to feed their own creativity. In other words, an agenda full of commitments is often counterproductive”
Silence in clinical practice
AF: “Silence for a psychologist or a psychoanalyst is an integral part of the instrumentation. The therapist is mostly silent because it leaves the patient an area of freedom. Thus permitting a chain of speeches, to get rid of the words, beyond the constraints of consistency, morality, rational logic. The silent listening allows the patient to be a able auto-listener, grasping the implications of his own words. Sometimes the analyst’s silence is for those who do not an”swers at a patient’s questions. It does so because it avoids influencing the individual with his judgment and to avoid being pedagogical. Silence, in this case, is to return the patient’s own question, to find the best solution. “
Silent zones in India.
India has silent zones that are comparable to the C zones in the center of Milan that prohibit cars to circulate. The difference is that in India the traffic ban was not raised against smog and air pollution, but against noise.
It all started a few years ago in the chaotic Mumbai, where a group of activists began to demonstrate for the right to peace. The reason is that the average decibel level in Mumbai is more than 80, while the World Health Organization indicates it should not exceed the maximum threshold of 65 decibels by day and 40 at night.
So the Mumbai High Court ruled the noise absolute prohibition in a radius of at least 100 meters around hospitals, schools, courts, parks, public buildings, libraries and universities.
Read more in La Republica Dossier 13/7 2019
Silence on the island of Lipari
The silence has partly abandoned Lipari. Donkeys have disappeared and cars and motorbikes have taken over on the roads. Police do not care about the noise that some cause with their scooters and motorbikes. Happily, July is the month of silence. You are not allowed to run building machines during that month probably to protect the tourists that come to the island on that month. But for those that are unlucky to live in the village near a bar, you may not be able to sleep at all from the evening at 10, until morning at 4-5 the next day. The night, summertime is party time on Lipari with musicians playing all the evenings, an Eden for youth that prefers to sleep during the day.
But there are many opportunities to enjoy the silence on the island anyway. In the early mornings or if you make trekking in the valleys you find a incredibly relaxing silence.
If you come to Lipari and you want silence, I recommend not to stay in the village of Lipari in July and August but instead find rooms outside like in the smaller villages like Pianoconte, Quattropani or Acquacalda. E.g. hotel Cutimare in Acquacalda on the north part of the Island is probably a good choice. there is only one road that has little or no traffic, one little bar, and at a distance, one restaurant.
I definitively prefer to live on Lipari. Fortunately my house is outside the village so I really enjoy the dark and silent nights and the early silent mornings. Sometimes there are dogs barking. But I can stand that.