Peace & Justice

This is the blog of the Commission on Peace and Justice for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, New York.

Monday, January 02, 2012

The sounds of silence

The writer Pico Iyer, who likes to spend time at a Benedictine hermitage, has published an interesting article in The New York Times about getting away from our electronic devices to enter a world of stillness, and about how it is becoming, of all things, trendy.
. . . I read an interview with the perennially cutting-edge designer Philippe Starck. What allowed him to remain so consistently ahead of the curve? “I never read any magazines or watch TV,” he said, perhaps a little hyperbolically. “Nor do I go to cocktail parties, dinners or anything like that.” He lived outside conventional ideas, he implied, because “I live alone mostly, in the middle of nowhere.”

Around the same time, I noticed that those who part with $2,285 a night to stay in a cliff-top room at the Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur pay partly for the privilege of not having a TV in their rooms; the future of travel, I’m reliably told, lies in “black-hole resorts,” which charge high prices precisely because you can’t get online in their rooms.

Has it really come to this?

In barely one generation we’ve moved from exulting in the time-saving devices that have so expanded our lives to trying to get away from them — often in order to make more time. The more ways we have to connect, the more many of us seem desperate to unplug. Like teenagers, we appear to have gone from knowing nothing about the world to knowing too much all but overnight.
While one of goals here is to encourage people to be involved in the world and in matters of peace and justice, we suggest that you begin the new year by reading this article and making time for stillness in your own life. There is a time for action and a time for contemplation. We hope that this article helps you begin to find the balance in your life.

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