IN PURSUIT OF SILENCE (doc, 2016)


Dallas International Film Festival 2016

 

in pursuit of silence Greetings again from the darkness. “Silence is a sound of many qualities.” Director Patrick Shen explores this sentiment as he reminds us what an important role silence (or at least quiet) can play in our lives.

There are many interviews and insights from experts (like author George Prochnik) … each in agreement that the benefits to silence are many. To be clear, we are speaking to the silence associated with things like rustling leaves, flowing water, and rolling waves. We are talking about the process invoked in Japanese Tea Houses, and the steps for meditation.

We are informed that silence has a positive influence on four areas: Physiological, Psychological, Cognitive and Physical. In fact, deep forest walks are used as treatments and prevention, and have shown signs of improving immune systems.

Most of us have noticed how uncluttered our mind becomes as we relax by the shore or on a mountain. Mr. Shen’s film has plenty of quiet time around the interviews, and even in a movie theatre, these peaceful times have quite an impact.

The point is made that we have substituted technology for human interaction … even in place of interaction with our own self. We have left only the tiniest space for reflective thought … the kind of thought that reduces stress and results in clarity within life.

For those who have never experienced it, the film offers a display of composer John Cage’s infamous 4’33” (4 minutes, 33 seconds) piece with three movements … each with complete silence from the orchestra. The idea sprang from his Zen lessons, and now for more than 60 years has been startling audiences into a pleasant state of appreciation. The film drives home the point that we should all find time to quiet our soul.

 

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