Thursday, December 05, 2019

The Collapse XXXIX: Silence

09 October 20XX

My Dear Lucilius:

Snow, snow, snow – that is all I can see from my windows at this point. It feels as if we have had nothing but snow (or blowing snow) forever, but really it has only been 5 days. Except for quick dashes out to check on the quail or to get wood, I remain huddled indoors.

The most noticeable thing is the silence.

Our modern world was (note the past tense) filled with noise: the noise of appliances and such inside a building, the noise of cars and planes and music and power tools (especially those greatest of all annoyances, the leaf blowers), occasionally even people. Our transit, be it via automobile or elevator, was filled with music or talk, our evenings with entertainment (I speak in general here as I have not had any sort of television in many years).

And suddenly there is none of that.

My house is now filled with the sounds of almost nothing: the fire crackling, the rabbits hopping in their cages or drinking or quietly eating. Occasionally, if I have power, one can hear the whir of my drive and the hot water heater working (followed by the sounds of me showering of course) or the clothes washer working. Perhaps the clink of dishes being done. But really, that is all.

Yes, the snow outside deadens everything, even inside (which makes no logical sense to me, other than a matter of mental perception). But even were there no snow, the sounds of civilization would no longer be present.

For myself, I have really spent the last few years working towards this point and now, embrace most of the silence. But there are millions now throughout the country whose lives have always been filled with noise; how truly discomforting this must seem. Our modern society was defined not only by the impact that we had on the world around us and how would manipulate the fabric of nature but by the noise with which we filled the world.

Once again, the world wins.

Your Obedient Servant, Seneca.


  1. I can imagine that kind of silence from reading this. I think it would be terribly hard for a lot of people. I'm glad Seneca is at peace with the silence.

  2. Leigh, the closest I have come is when we have a loss of power at night or in a storm (which removes all appliances and cuts down on traffic) - but even then, we still have the animals about. I can picture such a silence in my head. I should think it would take years to slow accustom one's self to it. But as Seneca says, he has been seeking this out anyway. Woe to those who are caught by surprise.


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