Silence in the Age of Noise, Erling Kagge, 2017
Read in the Silence of rural, winter, Vermont, this is a small gem. Kagge, a Norwegian polar explorer who solo skied to the South Pole in 1993, has written an ode to the virtues of silence. Sharing many of the concepts and vocabulary of mindfulness meditation, he quotes many Norwegian philosophers and poets as well as Wittgenstein, Kant, and others to praise the benefits of being quiet within yourself. A favorite quote is Wittgenstein’s idea about how, as long as you don’t’ attempt to ‘speak the unspeakable, nothing is lost.’ The idea of living with the beauty of the world in silence without the need to put it into words, to share it, to describe it, etc is a worthwhile one. I don’t see myself skiing to the South Pole or climbing Everest as he has, but I do appreciate the virtues of sitting quietly with a mind free of distraction and focused entirely on the present moment, savoring the awareness of the beauty of the world we live in. A gem.