I recently attended a meeting where a woman who had worked for the CIA commented on a disorienting expectation in her work and training with the Agency. She was required to make assessments and decisions while simultaneously being overwhelmed by data. There was no time to reflect on the content, or process and sort relevance in a tsunami of information.
In our instant, polarized, highly reactive and judgmental culture everything is accelerated. Talking heads, commentators, pundits, politicians and in fact all of us, feel the need to respond instantly to any breaking news, opinion or situation. To have nothing immediate to say is to be irrelevant! There is no time to assess the validity of facts or pause to reflect on an appropriate or wise response in the relentless cacophony of ego driven chatter. We take no time to listen to, be present for or to talk with each other.
In the natural world, or the real world, each rising and falling tide is marked by a short hesitation (slack water) between each turn of the tide. We draw no breath without a pause before each inhalation or exhalation. Without silence all sound, all music is meaningless. Musicians listen to each other providing space and silence for each other’s ‘voice. We will have no peace, no civic harmony until like musicians, we pause, get close enough to each other to listen in silence with respect and attention to each other’s experience and point of view.