Silence - Erling Kagge

Staff Pick

In this deceptively simple meditation on silence, Kagge constructs a graceful mosaic of definitions, statements, and paradoxes. What exactly is silence? He has a “primal need for” it, Kagge states, and it’s a “practical method” for understanding yourself, a state of mind that lets you tune out the world while being drawn into it more deeply, While it’s “the new luxury“ in this noisy world, silence isn’t the absence or the opposite of sound, since “to speak is precisely what the silence should do.” Kagge’s children think it’s “nothing”; if so, Kagge would have it be the “full emptiness” Marina Abramovic strives for, rather than the empty emptiness of distraction. Though it’s found most readily inside, Kagge, an explorer, traveled to Japan to look for it in meditation and yoga. He walked to Antarctica in search of it, spending fifty days alone—a trek that ended in the shock of hearing voices again. But silence does not depend on place or techniques. “You just create your own silence,“Kagge says, and it’s as unique as your soul and as conducive to joy and wonder as “the visual silence” of stars. Made up of thirty-three brief sections (perhaps an homage of sorts to Cage’s 4’33”) and ending in a blank page, Kagge’s spare essay leaves plenty of room for the silent reader’s own reflections, demonstrating the kind of active engagement Kagge believes silence invites.

Silence: In the Age of Noise Cover Image
By Erling Kagge, Becky L. Crook (Translator)
$19.95
ISBN: 9781524733230
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Pantheon Books - November 21st, 2017

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