People often ask me why my idea of fun consists of going up into the mountains and running for several hours at a time. In part, I enjoy the physical challenge and the sense of accomplishment, but another significant motivational factor is that when I escape into the depths of the forest, it’s quiet. Technological advances have made it easier and faster for us to access information, but a barrage of information is now projected in our direction in a bandwidth that’s deafening. In these modern times, it seems as though quiet has become a luxury.
I recently came across an interesting article by author Pico Iyer in the New York Times entitled The Joy of Quiet. Iyer has noticed a similar trend, citing internet rescue camps in South Korea and China for kids addicted to the web, and how he finds refuge in a Benedictine hermitage where he periodically retreats to drown out the excessive noise of the information age. In his own words, “nothing makes me feel better – calmer, clearer and happier – than being in one place, absorbed in a book, a conversation, a piece of music.”