In our hyper fast paced world, surrounded by deafening, constant ambient noise perpetually ringing in our ears, it is hard, perhaps even impossible, to find those true quiet moments. Those moments to get lost in our own thoughts. A time to think.
Most of us have long forgotten the sounds of silence. The absolute absence of noise. In the vacuum of space, there is zero noise. Some days, I truly wonder what that void must be like?
Common ambient sounds like wind, water, birds, crowds, office noises, traffic, machines, fans, etc. consume us for every tick of the clock, every day, every year. This is the constant onslaught of sound penetrating our inner ear membranes that stimulate and invoke our emotions, reactions, and impulses. These unabated, never-ending noises control us all.
So, what can we do?
When you consider your options, and weight the difference paths to take to remedy this concatenation of constant noise, there are many choices to consider. We must shave away the layers that wrap each pathway until we select the best option. So, I offer up Occam’s Razor for your consideration.
Occam’s razor is a first principle of logic; the preference for simplicity in the method is based on the falsifiability criterion. For each accepted explanation of a phenomenon, there may be an extremely large, perhaps even incomprehensible, number of possible and more complex alternatives. However, for me, it works and I trust it to help solve problems like this one.
Occam’s Razor says, “The simplest solution is most likely the right one.”
We have often heard this statement of logic expressed in modern media that has emerged in the past one hundred years, such as in books about Sherlock Holmes, or movies like Star Trek, this piece of thinking is applied to solve complex problems.
In the case of this barrage of rushing, all-encompassing noise, the answer is simple. Turn it off.
But how can this be done? Where can I go were there is no noise? How can I find silence?
While I have been inside a laboratory’s anechoic chamber and a dead room in a recording studio, these environments are hard to come by to find peace and quiet.
Once, while visiting a friend who was constructing an ultra green home in rural Ontario, I was stunned to hear a serious ringing in my ears. As I walked the acreage of this new property by myself, I heard nothing – absolutely nothing. The city boy was now in the country and could not hear. I could not hear anything. It was rather unnerving and took me some time to process what I was hearing, or actually not hearing.
After over forty plus years living with the ceaseless din of a large, modern city, my body was not able to grapple with this absolute silence. My mind searched frantically for noise, any auditory hubbub at all; I was profoundly disoriented by this hush. I had to cognitively understand exactly what was happening to me. I was outside of my natural habitat and struggled to manage to make sense of this predicament, I was unbalanced.
So, escaping the city and finding peaceful quiet in a rural setting seems to be a reasonable option. Canada has an abundance of rural, so you do not need to go far to find silence in this country. It can be more challenging in other countries. But even a day alone with your thoughts in the country is good medicine for the mind.
It is my view that we all need a break from technology, from the over stimulation of its outpouring of sights, sounds, tastes, touch, and smells. We need periodical “digital cleansing” to regain our balance. A digital detoxification of sorts. No, I am not some sage Zen thinker. The exact opposite in fact. I am a child of technology. I love it all. I live for this engineered, computerized, innovative, science-fueled life. It is an intrinsic part of my DNA.
However, we all need a break from high tech every once in away. It is time to wash away the bits and bytes that clings to our clothing like dog hair, magnetically pulled to our winter sweaters by the dry winter static air. It is time to walk in the sunshine on a crisp layer of newly fallen snow. To find a bench to sit upon and watch the bird fly and the clouds float past. One of the powerful advantages of a glorious, sunny, winter’s day is its perfection of silence. The blanket of snow absorbs the sounds of the world in its sleep-filled lull of these rejuvenating months. Take a clue from nature. During this upcoming holiday break, it is time to find some moments reserved just for you, to take a vacation from tech. To digitally cleanse. To detox.
We need to put down the devices, let go of the iPhone, set down the tablet, and push away the keyboard. It is time to seek some silence and reset our brains to remember the beauty of it all. We can start all over again in 2020.
About the Author:
Michael Martin has more than 35 years of experience in systems design for broadband networks, optical fibre, wireless, and digital communications technologies.
He is a business and technology consultant. He is employed by Wirepas Oy from Tampere, Finland as the Director of Business Development. Over the past 15 years with IBM, he has worked in the GBS Global Center of Competency for Energy and Utilities and the GTS Global Center of Excellence for Energy and Utilities. He is a founding partner and President of MICAN Communications and before that was President of Comlink Systems Limited and Ensat Broadcast Services, Inc., both divisions of Cygnal Technologies Corporation (CYN: TSX).
Martin currently serves on the Board of Directors for TeraGo Inc (TGO: TSX) and previously served on the Board of Directors for Avante Logixx Inc. (XX: TSX.V).
He has served as a Member, SCC ISO-IEC JTC 1/SC-41 – Internet of Things and related technologies, ISO – International Organization for Standardization, and as a member of the NIST SP 500-325 Fog Computing Conceptual Model, National Institute of Standards and Technology.
He served on the Board of Governors of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) [now OntarioTech University] and on the Board of Advisers of five different Colleges in Ontario. For 16 years he served on the Board of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), Toronto Section.
He holds three master’s degrees, in business (MBA), communication (MA), and education (MEd). As well, he has three undergraduate diplomas and five certifications in business, computer programming, internetworking, project management, media, photography, and communication technology. He has earned 15 badges in next generation MOOC continuous education in IoT, Cloud, AI and Cognitive systems, Blockchain, Agile, Big Data, Design Thinking, Security, and more.
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