Everyone lies naked on a bed of nettles.

I ran across this article, part of a series on education by Anthony Esolen. In the course of describing how the modern world wars against our children’s souls in ways our ancestors didn’t experience, he touches on the topics of play, and why we don’t want to be stimulated, and silence.

I think of the Lord speaking to us, in His silence that communicates so much: “Be still, and know that I am God.” And that is how I know that these issues are crucial. Some excerpts:

It is noise, rather, that is the absence, both of the significant word and of the fullness of being that silence allows us to hear.

…how petty and dreary a thing it is to be stimulated. The stimulus is the prick or spur you dig into the side of an animal. Imagine the horse, slow moving creature when he is content, with his large sad eyes. If we are to make use of him, we must apply the spur.

It is essentially a pornographic world, where everyone lies naked on a bed of nettles, and every new thing is dead before it is born.

Silence is so great a blessing to us because we cannot use it. All things truly creative, which partake of the spirit of play, send their roots deep down into silence.

Read the whole article, Life Under Compulsion: Noise.

6 thoughts on “Everyone lies naked on a bed of nettles.

  1. A heady article, GJ.

    I am going to remember that silence is a great gift when the students at school get squirrelly. They get so little peace, and providing some for them can restore their souls.

    When you lose a post, go to design, posts, and edit the lost post. That usually works for me.

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  2. Silence is truly a blessing…you can hear things you wouldn't normally hear, or reach in to the depth of your soul and resolve how to fix something, or dream up some creative work of art!

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  3. In our busy world, I am shocked at people who do not embrace silence at least for 10 minutes in the day. When the kids were small we had our “quiet time” between 2:00-3:00. It was for my sanity but they came to enjoy it. I love seeing them practice that in their own families.

    That quote about nettles really gets to me. Have you read Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman? I keep it on my shelf to remind me all of the time how easy it is to fall into that trap. I know though, if not for complete silence in the day, every day, I would go crazy.

    I like though how you put all of this together. Your writing and thought remind me so much of Anne Morrow Lindbergh. I love what she says because she makes me think. I like what you say because you challenge me. Always a treat to see what you are thinking about. Have a great week.

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