Pharos-Tribune

Opinion

February 24, 2013

KNISELY: Make the world go away

— There was a winter storm last week. You know how I know that? I checked my newsfeed on Facebook.

Some friends talked about the extent of the storm: “Wow! There’s at least an inch of ice on everything.”

Some friends tried to be helpful: “Be careful out there. It’s really slick.”

And some friends opted to just state the obvious: “It’s snowing.”

There was even one friend complaining about other friends talking about the storm on Facebook.

Regardless of how they did it, it seemed as if everyone was talking about the weather on Facebook.

When there’s a gap in a conversation, most people will go to the weather to fill the silent air.

It’s the most generic topic you can discuss with someone. It’s the lowest common denominator of conversations.

The difference is there’s no awkward dead air to fill when the conversation is happening online. It’s not as if you have to say something or it’s awkwardly silent.

Is empty space in our newsfeed the same as empty air in a conversation? All this made me wonder: Are we incapable of silence in any capacity?

The world is becoming so loud. So loud, in fact, that we make noise to muffle noise. We put on headphones connected to our iPod so as to not hear the sounds of the world around us. We use self-created sounds to avoid distractions and be able to focus on what we want. Regardless, noise is noise. Even if it’s white noise.

Is this why we can’t handle silence?

We have our radios in the car. Our TVs in the house. Our many consoles for video games. Our smartphones so we’re never without YouTube.

Is this why we can’t handle silence?

I don’t know what caused the problem, but there’s definitely a problem, even if I’m speaking for myself.

I went through a weekend retreat a few years back. There was a silence segment where no one was allowed to talk and all were asked to make as little noise as possible for the last few years before bed on the first evening.

The purpose, they told us, was to close our mouth and ears and open up our hearts and minds. At first it sounded like mumbo jumbo, but it turned out to be an educational evening. I found I don’t do well in silence — and I wasn’t alone. My fellow retreaters shared in my struggle with silence.

So is the problem getting worse as the world gets louder? Or does it just seem worse because it’s now permeating Facebook?

I don’t actually know. I’m just asking.

Heck, I don’t even know what we did before Facebook.

But in the case of the weather, I’m pretty sure we just looked out a window.

Misty Knisely is managing editor of the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5155 or at misty.knisely@pharostribune.com

 

For more on this story and other local news, subscribe to The Pharos-Tribune eEdition, or our print edition

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • WILLIAMS: America still the dream Is America really in as bad as shape like many people say it is? I’m 67 and when I look around, I don’t see it.Everything isn’t great but believe it or not, there has never been a time when everything was great, not even in those innocent Fifties we

    July 31, 2014

  • OUR VIEW: Every town that has any sort of waterway -- whether it be a river or a creek or just a stream -- knows it will be used as a trash can. And oftentimes, tires are a favorite trash to be tossed into the waterways. Many organizations and concerned citize

    July 31, 2014

  • WERNER: The mystery of the Indian grave at Dykeman Last summer I contacted Thelma Conrad, executive director of the Cass County Historical Society, to ask her if she had any information on the Indian grave at Dykeman Park. Thelma had heard of it but had never seen the small marker that tells of the I

    July 31, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Data confirms our obsession with sports Of the five highest paid employees of Indiana University, three are involved with athletics. That was the case in 2013 as well.In new evidence that spending on athletic department salaries is outpacing the rest of the university, if not the vast majo

    July 30, 2014

  • RAMPBELL: Keeping the sick at home Something strange happened here this week: Lots of workers who’ve never done so before got the right to call in sick. And that’s a good thing.The Big Apple, you see, is joining a handful of other trailblazing cities such as Washington, San Francisco

    July 30, 2014

  • KITCHELL: Patacsil was no ordinary Joe Somebody forgot to tell Joe Patacsil that if he wanted to wrestle at a Big Ten university with black and gold as its school colors ... well, most people who know anything about college wrestling today might have said he picked the wrong one -- Purdue

    July 30, 2014

  • MARCUS: The higher education funding mess Public higher education financing is unsustainable as currently configured. This conclusion was reached by two important groups over the past two years. The National Association of State Budget Officers and the State Higher Education Executive Office

    July 29, 2014

  • PUBLIC FORUM: Are businesses missing out on interns? Are businesses missingout on interns?Admittedly we’re a little biased, but the Indiana INTERNnet and Indiana Chamber teams believe your company is not operating at full capacity if you aren’t hosting an internship program. Missing out on increased pr

    July 29, 2014

  • VILLAGE IDIOT: The state of the reunion “Katy! It’s been so long! How’ve you been?”My God, she’s gained so much weight I didn’t recognize her. It’s a good thing we’re all wearing nametags. I thought it was some distant cousin past due with triplets.“Bob! Long time, no see.”No hair, either.

    July 29, 2014

  • OUR VIEW: Indiana's right-to-work law unnecessary It has been a crime for Indiana employers to enter into labor contracts that require workers to pay union dues since Feb. 1, 2012 — the day then-Gov. Mitch Daniels signed legislation making the Hoosier State a “right-to-work” state.Whether Indiana ke

    July 29, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should grocery and convenience stores be allowed to sell cold beer?

Yes
No
Unsure
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.