Paul Goodman has described various kinds of silences. ‘Dumb silence’ is representative of slumber and apathy. ‘Fertile silence’ heralds the emergence of new thoughts. ‘Alive silence’ alerts perception. ‘Musical silence’ accompanies absorbed activity. ‘Silence of listening’ allows another person speak. ‘Noisy silence’ represents resentment and self-recrimination. ‘Baffled silence’ doesn’t know what to do. ‘Silence of peaceful accord’ brings communion with the cosmos.
I read about a conclave in Finland where silence was the focal theme. The purpose of the conclave was to deliberate on the strengths of their country. Someone proposed ‘Finnish Silence’ as a national brand. The idea of silence as a resource, like clean water or wild mushrooms that are available in plenty in Finland was supported by many. One of the conclusions of the conclave was, “In the future, people will be prepared to pay for the experience of silence.”
One Finnish consultant rightly says, “If you want to know yourself, you have to be with yourself, and discuss with yourself, be able to talk with yourself.” And that is possible only when there is silence.