“The urgency of slowing down — to find the time and space to think — is nothing new, of course, and wiser souls have always reminded us that the more attention we pay to the moment, the less time and energy we have to place it in some larger context. “Distraction is the only thing that consoles us for our miseries,” the French philosopher Blaise Pascal wrote in the 17th century, “and yet it is itself the greatest of our miseries.” He also famously remarked that all of man’s problems come from his inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”
“after spending time in quiet rural settings, subjects “exhibit greater attentiveness, stronger memory and generally improved cognition. Their brains become both calmer and sharper.” More than that, empathy, as well as deep thought, depends (as neuroscientists like Antonio Damasio have found) on neural processes that are “inherently slow.” The very ones our high-speed lives have little time for. ”
-Excerpts FROM an article, The Joy of Quiet, in The New York Times.
The article addresses our current compulsion to self-impose and force ourselves into moments of silence / stillness / quiet so that we can actually “think.” I believe it is very telling of our current level of busyness and connectedness.
You might find its comparison to my most recent essay post on silence interesting. Although the matching topics are entirely coincidental, I do not believe that what each of us found in the silence (“Joy” for them, God for me) is coincidental.