Gordon Hempton, One Square Inch of Silence, and the Philosophy of Silence

I suppose this is another occasion where the interests explored on this blog and on my other intersect

Séamus Sweeney

It is good to see Gordon Hempton and the One Square Inch of Silence project  getting some coverage. Hempton’s book is much the best of the series of search-for-silence books which have appeared in recent years, and which tend to find that silence is impossible to find, and more specifically that a respite from human generated industrial noise is impossible to find.

Many of these take refuge in a certain clever nihilism – a how-I-learned-to-stop-worrying-and-love-the-noise approach. Hempton’s book articulated an approach to silence rooted in what can best be called love. The author of the Crosscut article linked to above makes a point of registering her slight discomfort at the religious language Hempton uses at times to discuss his work.

This slight touchiness about anything smacking of the spiritual could be unfortunate (although in fairness the author is won over by Hempton’s enthusiasm) if it blinds to the power of…

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