As I write this, I find myself sitting in a barbershop and with a headache that is only compounding with each passing second. Not to be mistaken, I am not here to be barbered. As evidenced by my mug shot above, I hack my own face and scalp. (I’ve been shaving my head since the age of 16. Thanks, receding hairline!) No, I’m here waiting for my son’s hair to be cut to 1950s specifications – the ever-elegant, timeless executive contour.
However, instead of spending the time pondering theological questions in silence or engaging in conversations with others who are sitting beside me, my senses are being blitzkrieged by a heavy dose of Rap whose lyrics are fanatical rantings about fornication, drugs and the thug life. Hence, the headache. (Ironically, my son and I are the only ones who seem to mind.)
I find that these types of headaches are increasing in frequency. I get them when visiting a restaurant with family and the music assaults and impedes our interactions. I also get them when our neighbors invite their friends and family to their house parties. I mustn’t complain though, they are considerate enough to play the latest Top 40 tunes so that the entire neighborhood can enjoy the monotonous and banal sounds that are modern “music”. (What’s the point of inviting guests when you won’t be able to hear them speak over the obnoxiously loud racket?)
The contemporary world is awash in noise and it is stifling – nay, decimating human interaction. We no longer welcome silence. We require background noise, like a soundtrack to a movie. If this were not true, most wouldn’t react scandalously when the music in a place of public accommodation suddenly stops playing.
Consider too that adolescents must have their earphones connected to their lobes so as to listen to their playlist in an endless loop. Has the reader ever tried to get them to turn off the music for a period of time? It’s as if the earbuds are an IV and if it were to discontinue feeding them a constant stream of degenerate pop music, they would die in an instant.
Why is this? Could it be that we are afraid of being left alone with our thoughts? Could it be that we really have nothing to say and need to fill the quiet spaces with white noise?
Actually, it would be an improvement if it were just noise. Listening to a dog bark incessantly is better than having to listen to Katy Perry’s grunts. The modern racket which passes for “music” is, in reality, comprised of a childish, electronic rhythm with a few synthetic notes sprinkled in and topped off with the main attraction: lyrics that glorify and promote immorality.
The youth intentionally disconnect themselves from the real world and others by immersing themselves in noise. Friends and family disconnect themselves from the real world and from one another when they sit at the same table but ignore each other as they peruse their Facebook walls. It’s all debilitating, reality-repressing, human warmth denying noise.
Question of the day: How much reality are you missing out on due to being absorbed in noise?
“A time to tear and a time to sew; A time to keep silence and a time to speak…” Ecclesiastes 3:7
“Better a handful with quietness than both hands full, together with toil and grasping for the wind.” Ecclesiastes 4:6