Step Away From Noise | 2244

Perhaps things that are meaning-less can be made meaning-full by stepping away from them?

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Step Away From Noise

The end of the year is rushing closer. Attempting to avoid the inevitable, for me the run up to Christmas always becomes a time of self reflection. I look back at all the things I did and didn’t achieve. 

Which is why I’m usually in such a bad mood for most of December. I get all my disappointment and woe-is-me self-flagellation out of the way. 

This year my advice to myself is that I should not wait until January to make New Year’s resolutions. The optimism that comes with a new calendar year is unfounded and interferes with critical thinking. The direction of travel for next year must be identified amidst reflection on the current one. 

Meditating on the vast ocean of wasted time that I sailed over this year. A sentence blossomed from inside me whilst sat on the meditation mat.

Step Away From Noise

It’s koan like ….. almost. 

It may take years or even a lifetime to understand a universal fragment like this.

But let me attempt an initial unpacking.

The world is a loud and chaotic place. We’re bombarded by noise from all sides. A constant stream of notifications from our phones. Information and advertising. The never-ending chatter of our own thoughts and inner conflicts.

We could name all this noise mental clutter.  All the thoughts, the emotions, and distractions that arise in the mind. Noise interferes with our ability to focus and think clearly. Worry, stress, anxiety, fear, doubt, or other negative emotions. Racing thoughts, mental chatter, or self-criticism.

Step away from them.

Noise could also be literal loud and distracting sounds.

Leaf blowers are noisy, impact drivers, scaffolding, construction, builders, doors slamming, plates dropping. 

If you are having a conversation in the kitchen and someone turns on the blender – you step out of the room. Or, stop speaking for the duration of the noise. Like waiting for a plane to fly over when recording. 

The blender analogy breaks down when referring to social media however. You can step away, but you can’t stop speaking. Saying anything on social media makes you complicit in the operation of the very machine you find noisy. 

But what else could be meant by noise?

Have you ever been so absorbed in something that you haven’t realised someone was speaking to you? Like the teacher from peanuts, the words are just modulated frequencies – noise. Then all in an instant a strange thing happens – you realise someone was speaking. The words snap into focus. The sound of that person’s voice goes from meaningless noise to words. 

Perhaps to step away from noise means to make movement towards meaning?

Alternatively perhaps things that are meaning-less can be made meaning-full by stepping away from them?

I’ve recently been reading more of the writings of R.Murray Schafer and Pauline Oliveros. Deep listening, sonic awareness and sound culture. Both speak of the need to be present in the moment and the need to see (or hear) things through to their conclusion. 

Which raises another question: what is a moment and how long does it take to reach its conclusion? Moments exist in both clock and plot time

Have you ever sat down at a piano and played a loud chord with the sustain pedal held down? This is a moment

The chord sounds out. But the wires continue to vibrate. The individual notes blend and merge. Frequencies shift and evolve. Overtones appear and disappear as the vibrations of the wires succumb to entropy.

Is what happens after the sounding of a chord on a piano just noise? This potential harmonic dance is almost always ended early by the application of the damper. So eager are we to move onto the next chord, or musical idea.

I’ve been thinking about my Dream, Doing, Done spiel from the other month. I now wonder if the doing of the work is also a process of bearing witness to the dream.

Maybe stepping away from noise means to sit with the consequences of one’s actions? Ideas must be fully expressed and taken to their conclusion before you can move on to the next chord.

I began the year with β€œFear of Finding Out’.

An episode about my hopes for the year. I spoke about my chronic procrastination and the long term personal crisis of my own making.

It was a show about all the things I wanted to create and make in 2022. How I wanted to actually do all the things that needed doing. So to bookend the year, I ask myself the same question I did in January. 

Am I the Person that I Believe myself to Be

The honest answer, I must admit, is, I do not know.

That universal fragment is an idea that is yet to be resolved or fully expressed to its ultimate conclusion. I am A person certainly. Now different from the one who asked the question back in January.

Perhaps I wonder. If the answer can be found by the sort of person who believes they must navigate by intuition. Acting upon the things that arise inside them.

The sort of person who bears witness to his dreams. The person who moves towards things that are meaning-full. The sort of person who can discern in the moment that the thing they are dealing with is actually noisy and meaning-less?

Does this mean having less dreams or more?

The person who finds out next year will be one who steps away from noise.

Because when the universe tells you to do something – you do it.


The script above is the original script written for the episode. It may differ from what ended up in the edit.

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3 responses to “Step Away From Noise | 2244”

  1. […] on feed based platforms takes place at the network’s turbulent and frothy surface. Meaning-Full content in the short term, becomes Meaning-Less within hours. It is always β€˜now’ on social media. Social platforms privilege the present. […]

  2. […] last year I made an episode about stepping away from noise. I promised myself that I would be the sort of person in 2023 who steps away from things that are […]

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