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Silence is the relative or total lack of auditory stimulation, of audible sound. By analogy, the word silence may also refer to any absence of communication, even in media other than speech.[1] Silence is also used as total communication, in reference to non verbal communication and spiritual connection. Silence is also referred to no sounds uttered by anybody in a room and or area. Silence is a very important factor in many cultural spectacles, as in rituals.

In discourse analysis, brief absences of speech mark the boundaries of prosodic units used by speakers. Silence in speech can be the result of hesitation, stutters, self-correction, or the deliberate slowing of speech for the purpose of clarification or processing of ideas. These are short silences. Longer pauses in language occur in interactive roles, reactive tokens, or turn-taking.

According to cultural norms, silence can be interpreted as positive or negative. For example, in a Christian Methodist faith organization silence and reflection during the sermons might be appreciated by the congregation, while in a Southern Baptist church, silence might mean disagreement with what is being said, or perhaps disconnectedness from the congregated community.

Deaf people function in a completely silent culture.

Gestures Edit

File:First Great Western HST Standard Class Quiet Carriage.jpg

Placing the index finger in front of closed lips is the most widely recognized gesture of silence. The gesture can be used to demand silence without raising one's own voice. The rose, sometimes depicted clasped by or on top of closed lips, is another well-recognized symbol of silence stemming from various mythologies.

In Western cultures, it is sometimes difficult to interpret the message being sent by a person being silent (i.e. not speaking). It can mean anger, hostility, disinterest, or any number of other emotions. Because of this, people in Western cultures feel uneasy when one party is silent and will usually try their best to fill up the silence with small talk.
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In music Edit

Main article: Rest (music)

Music inherently depends on silence in some form or another to distinguish other periods of sound and allow dynamics, melodies and rhythms to have greater impact. For example, most music scores feature rests denoting periods of silence.

Some composers take the use of silence in music to an extreme. 4′33″ is an experimental musical work by avant-garde composer John Cage. It consists of just over four and a half minutes of silence.[citation needed] Though first performed on the piano, the piece was composed for any instrument or instruments and is structured in three movements.[citation needed] The length of each movement is not fixed by the composer, nor is the total length of the piece. The title of the piece should reflect the timings chosen, and could therefore be different at every performance. The modern performance tradition of 4′33″ is to keep the total duration fixed as at the first performance.[citation needed]

In debate Edit

Argumentative silence is the rhetorical practice of saying nothing when an opponent in a debate would expect something to be said. Poorly executed, it can be very offensive, like refusing to answer a direct question. However, well-timed silence can completely throw an opponent and give the debater the upper hand.

An argument from silence (Latin: argumentum ex silentio ) is an argument based on the assumption that someone's silence on a matter suggests ("proves" when a logical fallacy) that person's ignorance of the matter. In general, ex silentio refers to the claim that the absence of something demonstrates the proof of a proposition.

In law Edit

The right to silence is a legal protection enjoyed by people undergoing police interrogation or trial in certain countries. The law is either explicit or recognized in many legal systems. Violation of the right to quiet enjoyment is a common law tort.

In dangerEdit

Joseph Jordania suggested that in social animals (including humans) silence can be a sign of danger. Many social animals produce seemingly haphazard sounds are known as contact calls.[2] These are a mixture of various sounds, accompanying the group's everyday business (for example, foraging, feeding), and they are used to maintain audio contact with the members of the group. Some social animal species communicate the signal of potential danger by stopping contact calls and freezing, without the use of alarm calls, through silence. Charles Darwin wrote about this in relation with wild horse and cattle.[3] Jordania suggested that human humming could have played a function of contact calls in early human ancestors in order to avoid silence.[4] According to his suggestion, humans find prolonged silence distressing (suggesting danger to them). This may help explain why lone humans in relative sonic isolation feel a sense of comfort from humming, whistling, talking to themselves, or having TV/radio on without attending to it.

In spirituality Edit

"Silence" in spirituality is often used as a metaphor for inner stillness. A silent mind, freed from the onslaught of thoughts and thought patterns, is both a goal and an important step in spiritual development. Such "inner silence" is not about the absence of sound; instead, it is understood to bring one in contact with the divine, the ultimate reality, or one's own true self, one's divine nature.[5] Many religious traditions imply the importance of being quiet and still in mind and spirit for transformative and integral spiritual growth to occur. In Christianity, there is the silence of contemplative prayer such as centering prayer and Christian meditation; in Islam, there are the wisdom writings of the Sufis who insist on the importance of finding silence within. In Buddhism, the descriptions of silence and allowing the mind to become silent are implied as a feature of spiritual enlightenment. In Hinduism, including the teachings of Advaita Vedanta and the many paths of yoga, teachers insist on the importance of silence, Mauna, for inner growth. Perkey Avot, the Jewish Sages guide for living, states that "Tradition is a safety fence to Torah, tithing a safety fence to wealth, vows a safety fence for abstinence; a safety fence for wisdom..... is silence." In some traditions of Quakerism, silence is an actual part of worship services and a time to allow the divine to speak in the heart and mind.[6] Eckhart Tolle says that silence can be seen either as the absence of noise, or as the space in which sound exists, just as inner stillness can be seen as the absence of thought, or the space in which thoughts are perceived.

See also: vow of silence

Silent Prayer in HinduismEdit

In Hinduism, Om chanting [citation needed] is considered as silent prayer.

The easiest way to get touch with this universal power is through silent Prayer. ... Perfect prayer does not consist in many words, silent remembering and pure intention raises the heart to that supreme Power. Shut your eyes, shut your mouth, and open your heart. This is the golden rule of prayer. Prayer should be soundless words coming forth from the centre of your heart filled with love. .... Silence is the language of Om. We need silence to be able to reach our Self. Both internal and external silence is very important to feel the presence of that supreme Love.

[7]


Commemorative silence Edit

Main article: Moment of silence

A common way to remember a tragic incident and to remember the victims or casualties of such an event is a commemorative moment of silence. This usually means one or more minutes of silence, in which one is supposed to not speak, but instead remember and reflect on the event. A commemorative silence may be held at a workplace, a school, and similar institutions. Sometimes a government will advertise a commemorative silence for a specific period at a specific time, which everybody is encouraged (but not forced) to honor. One such example is after the events of 9/11, and on its anniversary several years afterward, when many governments around the world announced 3 minutes of silence in respect of the victims of the event[citation needed].

See also Edit


References Edit

  1. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/silence
  2. Macedonia, J. (1986). Individuality in the contact call of the ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta). American Journal of Primatology, 11, 163-179
  3. Charles Darwin (2004). The Descent of Men, London: Penguin Books. pg. 123.
  4. Jordania, J. (2009). Times to Fight and Times to Relax: Singing and Humming at the Beginnings of Human Evolutionary History. Kadmos, 1, 272–277
  5. See Stephen Palmquist, "Ontology and the Wonder of Silence", Part Four of The Tree of Philosophy (Hong Kong: Philopsychy Press, 2000. See also "Silence as the Ultimate Fulfillment of the Philosophical Quest", Journal Hekmat Va Falsafeh, (Journal of Wisdom and Philosophy), Issue 6 (August 2006), pp.67–76.
  6. Britain Yearly Meeting, "Quaker Faith and Practice" Third Edition, 2005 (?), sections 2.01, 2.12–17 etc., The Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Britain, London, ISBN 0 85245 375 2 / ISBN 0 85245 374 4
  7. Amit Ray, Om Chanting and Meditation, Inner Light Publishers, pp. 55-56, ISBN 8191026937

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