Silentiarius

“Silentiarius, Hellenized to silentiarios (Greek: σιλεντιάριος) and Anglicized to silentiary, was the Latin title given to a class of courtiers in the Byzantine imperial court, responsible for order and silence (Latin: silentium) in the Great Palace of Constantinople. In the middle Byzantine period (8th–11th centuries), it was transformed into an honorific court title.”

Silentiarius

What he misses most is the sound of traffic

As he tells his father, what he misses most is the sound of traffic. It seems the noise made by trucks and taxi cabs created for him a kind of evening lullaby. Now he finds it difficult to fall asleep in the quiet.

“What about the sound of crickets?” Navidson asks.

Chad shakes his head.

“It’s not the same. I dunno. Sometimes it’s just silent… No sound at all.”

“Does that scare you?”

Chad nods.

“Why?” asks his father.

“It’s like something’s waiting.”

“What?”

Chad shrugs. “I dunno Daddy. I just like the sound of traffic.”

House of Leaves, Mark Z. Danielewski.

What silence reveals

What silence reveals, all sounds, the voices of things, the musical world… All of this becomes active, a kind of disjointed rebellion, a rhetorical device, a genealogy that legitimates the rule of the void.

A perfectly adjusted organism would be silent

“Most of life is so dull that there is nothing to be said about it and the books and talk that would describe it as interesting are obliged to exaggerate, in the hope of justifying their own existence. Inside its cocoon of work or social obligation, the human spirit slumbers for the most part, registering the distinction between pleasure and pain, but not nearly as alert as we pretend. There are periods in the most thrilling day during which nothing happens and though we continue to exclaim, ‘I do enjoy myself,’ or, ‘I am horrified,’ we are insincere. ‘As far as I feel anything, it is enjoyment, horror’—it’s no more than that really and a perfectly adjusted organism would be silent.”

A Passage to India, E. M. Forster.

Nothing

“No eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind – No form, sound, smell, taste, touch or thought.”

The Heart of the Perfection of Wisdom Sutra

Todo resuena

«Todo resuena, apenas se rompe el equilibrio de las cosas. Los árboles y las yerbas son silenciosas; el viento las agita y resuenan. El agua está callada: el aire la mueve, y resuena; las olas mugen: algo las oprime; la cascada se precipita: le falta suelo; el lago hierve: algo lo calienta. Son mudos los metales y las piedras, pero si algo los golpea, resuenan. Así el hombre. Si habla, es que no puede contenerse; si se emociona, canta; si sufre, se lamenta. Todo lo que sale de su boca en forma de sonido se debe a una ruptura de su equilibrio.

La música nos sirve para desplegar los sentimientos comprimidos en nuestro fuero interno. Escogemos los materiales que más fácilmente resuenan y con ellos fabricamos instrumentos sonoros: metal y piedra, bambú y seda, calabazas y arcilla, piel y madera. El cielo no procede de otro modo. También él escoge aquello que más fácilmente resuena; los pájaros en la primavera; el trueno en verano; los insectos en otoño; el viento en invierno. Una tras otra, las cuatro estaciones se persiguen en una cacería que no tiene fin. Y su continuo transcurrir, ¿no es también una prueba de que el equilibrio cósmico se ha roto?

Lo mismo sucede entre los hombres; el más perfecto de los sonidos humanos es la palabra; la literatura, a su vez, es la forma más perfecta de la palabra. Y así, cuando el equilibrio se rompe, el cielo escoge entre los hombres a aquellos que son más sensibles, y los hace resonar». —Han-Yu

Chuang-tzu, Octavio Paz.

The silence of a summer morning is more touching than all other silence

“The silence was more profound than that of midnight; and to me the silence of a summer morning is more touching than all other silence, because, the light being broad and strong as that of noonday at other seasons of the year, it seems to differ from perfect day chiefly because man is not yet abroad; and thus the peace of nature and of the innocent creatures of God seems to be secure and deep only so long as the presence of man and his restless and unquiet spirit are not there to trouble its sanctity.”

Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, Thomas De Quincey.

Silence is cinema

“Silence is cinema! We are so used to sounds; we’re always talked at. Silence is very rare for us for a long duration of time. It makes people very uncomfortable. But what it does, it also forces us to perceive on a much deeper level because we can no longer just be told things. Silence is like gold. In terms of cinema from a story perspective, silence forces the audience to engage more, because if they’re not being told what to think, then they have to put in the subliminal elements. I love that personally and I think it’s an obligation we have, because then the audience and the film interact. You’re not just passive, you penetrate each other.”

Nicolas Winding Refn On the Tepid Cannes Reaction to ‘Only God Forgives’ and Why His Second Time at the Festival Was Like ‘Going to the Office’

Seventeen nukes and a microphone

Hace unos días vi un episodio de Last Resort (una serie estadounidense sobre un submarino nuclear que se niega a cumplir con la orden de bombardear Pakistán) en el que en un momento dado alguien dice: «You’re your own country. Seventeen nukes and a microphone, what more do you need?».

Ah, es que 17 torpedos nucleares no son nada sin el poder de un micrófono. Como decía Ivan Illich en El silencio es un bien comunal, «al menos que tengamos acceso a un altavoz, estamos silenciados».

Last Resort, temporada 1 episodio 9.