The sounds of silence


THE legendary mime Marcel Marceau once released a recording titled The Best of Marcel Marceau. It consisted of 40 minutes of silence followed by a thunderous applause.

Strangely, this gimmick recording sold so well that the French mime released a “special’’ version for children. It was the same recording of silence, with a different cover.

In 1953, the most popular jukebox selection in the nosiest US restaurants was a record appropriately titled Three Minutes Of Silence.

There have been interesting attempts at times to make this a quieter world. Yet this is probably the noisiest age of our planet. We generally fear silence, filling in the gaps between speech with background television or music; anything to avoid the awkward silence. We even try to muffle noise with noise, turning up the iPods to blank out the sound of commuters in the street or the trains.

The irony is that it is in silence where we are mostly likely to hear God. Psalm 46:10 states: “Be still, and know that I am God’’. Being still reminds us that God is in control, and we are called to simply be, not do. Perhaps that’s why we avoid the silence — it’s confronting.


7 thoughts on “The sounds of silence

    • That’s a good point there’s a little bit of a contradiction there.

      Personally I quite like the silence, if only for the rarity


  1. Remember “Silent Movie” by Mel Brooks? No actor said a word thru the whole movie except at the very end. Marcel picks up the phone and says “NO !” Classic


  2. There is a definite difference in whether the silence is individual or communal. The communal silence has a sense of community, and I feel allows communication even if subliminal – a communion.


  3. Reminds me of an account I came across of St Peter asking God why He kept deleting all of His voice-mail messages without even bothering to listen to them.

    Says God, “Oh, it’s all good, mate. If I just ignore them all and don’t do anything about any of them, then if something turns out well, they give me all the credit, and if something turns out badly they never blame me for it anyway. So I figure, why stick my nose in and mess with a system that’s already a win-win for me?”


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