Should we seek silence?

Andre's Bogota

Many of us crave relief from the cacophony of our often noisy world. I’m one, generally a quiet seeker, searching for solace when my surroundings get too loud, but not always… When I’m in a noisy environment, and enjoying myself, I seem to have an increased tolerance to the din of amplified sound levels. Mood and emotion play a large roll in our ability to remain comfortable in the presence of loud sounds.

Just over a week ago I was in a unique and well known restaurant in Bogotá named Andrés. This place is nearly indescribable; a visual feast, crowded with well over two thousand locals and tourists laughing, eating, drinking, and dancing into the early morning hours to the latest Latin Reggae rhythms.

This is an environment that would normally overwhelm me; my decibel meter app was registering over 100 dB! But on this particular night, I was having such a great time with new friends, being immersed in the local culture, that the amplified sound levels energized me and elevated my mood. Perhaps the local sugarcane derived, anise-flavored spirit Aguardiente “firewater” provided some hearing protection along with mood enhancement? If I didn’t enjoy my company, the music, or the environment, this multi-sensorial combination of steakhouse and rave could just as easily have been overwhelming, but I was having a great time!

What got me thinking about this is an article by David Hendy from the BBC the dark side of silence wherein Hendy argues convincingly I may add, that the quest for silence, relief from the noise in our lives can come with a price.

Had I sought quiet on this particular evening, I would have missed one of the most fun and memorable travel experiences in recent memory. Consider this… Are there times we should embrace loud sounds, just as we do other things that at times may seem intolerable?

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