In one way or another, we've all heard this familiar saying from family relatives, friends, religion, and our current media outlets: "Silence is bliss."
Silence has been a term defined simply as an absence of sound. Human beings have had many different interpretations of silence and its importance. We often associate the quote with another quote of our own: "Think before you speak." Sometimes, human beings can get into some awkward social situations that require some thought on what words to react with or whether to react at all, so the use of silence must be used wisely, almost as a sharp dagger.
Imagine that you are confronted by a stranger you accidentally bumped into walking through Manhattan. How would you react? Would you stay quiet and walk away? Would you resort to violence? How about talking things through in a more appropriate manner?
These questions may seem easy to answer, but they really depend on the person who confronted you and the type of person you are. Other factors include how you were raised, personality, environment, city experience, etc.
People will react differently. It's human nature and nurture being exploited in an otherwise simple encounter. However, using silence can get a little complicated when situations have much higher stakes.
What happens when a legislative change leads to misrepresentation of populations of surrounding towns? How about when a racist group of adults threatens your safety by throwing stones at your house windows? It's a different ball game. People begin to protest, take marches, and events are created to let voices be heard.
In screen and playwriting, pauses are used for dramatic effect or even a shift in plot. Silence is used as a form of art in music. Rests (quarter, half, whole, etc.) are part of a musical piece and, as such, music in itself.
Professional athletes, particularly NBA players Kawahi Leonard and Tim Duncan, use silence to focus on the game, control emotions, and even as a mental tool to defeat opponents. Silence also makes for good listening skills with peers, professors, and friends alike (and HOPEFULLY your lovely wed!).
Silence has been used as a staple across all our daily lives. However, we must use this valuable tool wisely. Sometimes it’s just better to say nothing at all.