This I Believe Draft

As children, many of us feared the dark.  We feared what was unknown, what might be waiting just beyond the limits of our vision, and we feared the isolation that darkness often brought.  We grow out of this fear of the dark, of course, but perhaps not our fear of the unknown.

Our generation is constantly occupied.  At first only a side-effect, it has grown into a crippling condition.  Technology made us faster, more productive versions of ourselves, but we have become excessively dependent on it.  Now, even when we have accomplished all that we must, we feel the need to be engaged by some other task.  We find any possible means to fill what little downtime we have, drowning out the silence with speakers and earbuds.  We have become so unaccustomed to quiet and calm that we now fear it as we once did the dark; we fear the unknown horrors that it might hold.

But I believe that quiet is a necessity, one that should be cherished rather than endured.  Just as the dark lends itself to rest and recovery after the long light of day, quiet is what allows us to process, analyze, and ultimately understand all of the noise.  Each day, we are bombarded by an exorbitant number of stimuli, all screaming for our attention.  If we never allow ourselves a moment without having to take in new information, it becomes impossible to reflect on anything that we have taken in.  Without quiet, a wealth of knowledge simply remains an incomprehensible mess, and is ultimately forgotten.

This notion may seem abstract, it may even seem to defy convention, but it is supported by the law of diminishing returns.  It has been proven that for each additional unit of time spent studying a given topic, successful learning begins to decrease.  At a certain point, new information is no longer the answer to understanding something.  Only contemplating what has already been learned can lead to pronounced increases in comprehension; for this, quiet is paramount.

And just as quiet nurtures new understanding, it also brings forth new ideas.  Consider Sir Isaac Newton, the infamous Englishman who first developed the concept of gravity.  He worked tirelessly on numerous experiments to support his hypothesis.  Nevertheless, Newton became aware of gravitation as he was simply strolling through an orchard, his mind unoccupied and undisturbed.

We often have similar, albeit less profound, experiences.  Most of what I’m including in this podcast was thought of in the shower, or while walking between classes.  Obviously sitting in silence is not the solution to every problem, and it would be far from productive, but we could all benefit from making the effort to free ourselves from distractions, whether it be by setting time aside to clear our minds or simply leaving our headphones at home once in awhile.  It may seem inconvenient, but quiet can be unexpectedly powerful, and should not be underestimated.

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6 comments

  1. soma

    This I Believe Draft | Cultures and Customs

  2. This is beautifully written. I agree with everything you’re saying. It has been proven scientifically that even a few minutes of meditation everyday drastically increases mental capacity. I don’t know what else I would have included, except for maybe a more blatant ” I believe…” statement. This topic is definitely something we all need to include in our lives, and I’m glad someone pointed it out. Good work!

  3. Very nice! I wasn’t sure at first where you were going with this, but you tied it all together really nicely, along with the examples of Newton and how you yourself got the idea for this post. I thought some of it was a little abstract, and may be the wording would be awkward to say sometimes, but overall a very nice draft!

  4. I would have to agree with what you said. I agree that simply being quiet and thinking to yourself is one of the best methods of understanding something. As humans, I think we all need some time to reflect on things and consider topics alone. As for your writing, I think you had really good transitions in your piece that made it go as smooth as possible. One thing I could suggest is that you use a personal experience in your life rather than historical ones. It would make it more compelling to listen to.

  5. This script is really good and flows really well together. The concept of taking a break and just looking at ourselves and the world around us with our eyes instead of on a screen is extremely important and I agree it’s something we should do. However it took a while to get there and the intro is a little confusing, so maybe refer to technology a little bit so the audience understands what exactly is going on. Other than that, it is really well written.

  6. I like the ideas you have here a lot. It’s true that sometimes we need to take time in the silence to just sit and think rather than constantly be distracted. Your intro about darkness was cool to read, however it didn’t really connect or have much to do with the necessity of silence. I was also kind of confused as to why you chose Newton as your example story for new ideas. You may want to think about using a recent discovery or scientist rather than an old one just to show that this generation is able to do what past generations have done so it will make a connection with your audience…But overall very cool! Good job

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