Why are we so afraid of silence? We surround ourselves with sound wherever we are. We get in the car and the first thing we do is turn on the radio. We have the TV on in the background while we cook. We listen to music while we exercise. We put music on when having guests over.

There’s something very confronting about silence. Being alone with your thoughts lets your brain start becoming introspective and asking questions. Questions that can be uncomfortable to ask. Questions we might not like the answers to. Am I adequate as an artist? Is my creative output any good? What makes my work unique? What is my voice? Am I producing work that is better than I was producing six months ago, or just more of the same?

These questions can be paralysing and lead to feelings of inadequacy, but they can also be a springboard to push yourself out of a rut. To energise yourself out of a state of mediocrity and artistic complacency. To lead you to make changes in your life that will make you a better artist.

So the next time you find yourself listening to the radio / music / or watching TV, switch it off and listen…what is your silence asking?


  • AzS
    August 28, 2012, 5:04 pm  Reply

    Fear of silence is fear of what enters to fill it (in the case of what you described, what fills it are bad or distressing thoughts). I think that’s used to great effect in scary films (at least, in the good ones). Prime among these is “Alien”, which utilizes silence to terrifying effect — the silence there is frightening because it’s the monster that fills it.

    “Jaws” uses a very different kind of silence, or, at least, the visual equivalent. The calm, placid, “silent’ sea becomes a symbol of what comes through it. It’s something we can’t see through, and it doesn’t protect us from the monster within.


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