some wonderful thoughts, translated from Korean original 시골의사 박경철의 자기혁명 by yours truly.
It’s easy to think of silence as something passive, but in fact, silence can be an active and dynamic choice. Because silence has existed since before the universe was created, it is different from the language of the world that we inhabit. This is to say, silence is not a question of whether we speak or don’t speak. It transcends the linguistic dimension and assumes different forms of power based on whether it comes from active intention.
For instance, to be silent is to be an observer. The moment you become silent, you become the observer of the other’s expression. On the contrary, the moment you start to speak, you become the observed. Of course, silence without another party is an active form of self-observation.
In fact, we live amidst lots of chatter. We give others countless opportunities to observe us. I host a radio show in the morning, write columns and give talks around the country and, as a result, I live surrounded by chatter without chances to reflect on myself. In that regard, even writing this book is no different. Without observing myself, living this way is like taking a hose to a well and drawing all the water out, an act of self-harm.
All of our actions consume time, but silence is the opposite. Silence can beget thought and it can even reverse time. Therefore, the moment we fall silent, we are no longer prisoners of time.
We live between the world of silence from which we come and the other world of silence which we will enter (death). Our language also inhabits the space between the two worlds… Because we do not experience death in our lives, we fail at death. We must learn to die. – Max Picard “The World of Silence”
Silence is a form of passion.
It seems as though silence exists outside of myself, but in fact, I exist within silence. I can observe myself and allow my sense of self and interiority to grow within silence. Silence is the only thing that allows me to observe and warn the part of me that is shaken by all kinds of impulses, emotions and temptations.
The moment we fall silent, we separate from the external. Being silent goes beyond not speaking; it means stopping all acts born out of inertia. Hence, being silent toward another person, toward the external world, is another way of expressing passion. For instance, being quiet and listening to music is a gesture of intensity, of fierceness.