Have our noise-soaked lives driven us mad? And is absolute silence an impossible goal—or the one thing that can save us? A lively tale of one man’s quest to find the grail of total quiet.--- “ I don’t know at what point noise became intolerable for me,” George Michelsen Foy writes as he recalls standing on a subway platform in Manhattan, hands clamped firmly over his ears, face contorted in pain. But only then does Foy realize how overwhelmed he is by the city’s noise and vow to seek out absolute silence, if such an absence of sound can be discovered. Foy begins his quest by carrying a pocket-sized decibel meter to measure sound levels in the areas he frequents most—the subway, the local café, different rooms of his apartment—as well as the places he visits that inform his search, including the Parisian catacombs, Joseph Pulitzer’s “silent vault,” the snowy expanses of the Berkshires, and a giant nickel mine in Canada, where he travels more than a mile underground to escape all human-made sound. Along the way, Foy experiments with noise-canceling headphones, floatation tanks, and silent meditation before he finally tackles a Minnesota laboratory’s anechoic chamber that the Guinness Book of World Records calls “the quietest place on earth,” and where no one has ever endured even forty-five minutes alone in its pitch-black interior before finding the silence intolerable. Drawing on history, science, journalistic reportage, philosophy, religion, and personal memory, as well as conversations with experts in various fields whom he meets during his odyssey, Foy finds answers to his questions: How does one define silence? Did human beings ever experience silence in their early history? What is the relationship between noise and space? What are the implications of silence and our need for it—physically, mentally, emotionally, politically? Does absolute silence actually exist? If so, do we really want to hear it? And if we do hear it, what does it mean to us? According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 30 million Americans suffer from environment-related deafness in today’s digital age of pervasive sound and sensory overload. Roughly the same number suffer from tinnitus, a condition, also environmentally related, that makes silence impossible in even the quietest places. In this respect, Foy’s quest for silence represents more than a simple psychological inquiry; both his queries and his findings help to answer the question “How can we live saner, healthier lives today?” Innovative, perceptive, and delightfully written, Zero Decibels will surely change how we perceive and appreciate the soundscape of our lives.
Type: BOOK - Published: 2010-05-18 - Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Have our noise-soaked lives driven us mad? And is absolute silence an impossible goal—or the one thing that can save us? A lively tale of one man’s quest to find the grail of total quiet.--- “ I don’t know at what point noise became intolerable for me,” George Michelsen Foy
Type: BOOK - Published: 2018-10-02 - Publisher: Rockport Publishers
The Language of Graphic Design provides design students and practitioners with an in-depth understanding of the fundamental elements and principles of their language, graphic design: what they are, why they are important, and how to use them effectively. To communicate in a new language, you first have to gain a
Type: BOOK - Published: 2012-12-20 - Publisher: Oxford University Press
Drawing on insights from the early Christian monastics as well as the ecological writings of such figures as Henry David Thoreau, Aldo Leopold, Annie Dillard, and others, Christie forges a distinctively contemplative vision of ecological spirituality that could, he contends, serve to ground the work of ecological restoration.
Type: BOOK - Published: 2012-08-01 - Publisher: Sounds True
Why are we able to recognize melodies in our first days of life? Why does making music actually switch off the genes that signal stress? It is because music is part of who we are at the deepest level—and we don't need any special talent or training to harness its
Type: BOOK - Published: 2020-01-17 - Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Why do human beings behave the way they do? What governs how they act out their daily lives? It is not difficult to provide the traditional argument that it’s largely a matter of the culture in which we live, a product of the influences of family, peers, teachers, religious leaders,