The attraction of silence

SUNDAY, 15 AUGUST 2004

I am suddenly acutely attracted to silence, like sitting in or nearby a piece of open veld and just listening, and maybe having a whispered conversation with myself.

Some might consider this to be the flipside of a desire for non-appearance; the latter, of course, in order to protect oneself. I believe that I have become increasingly alienated from people because most people I meet are not on the same journey as me – intellectually speaking, but it can also be seen as a spiritual process.

If I had, for example, converted to an orthodox version of Judaism, my relationship with my immediate family and some old friends would have been at a similar level of alienation than is now the case. But now the convictions to which I have come and which I have worked out for myself, is my own faith, with no external paraphernalia like a prescribed dress code and a prescribed style of facial hair growth shared with others in a community of faith, as in the case of, for example, orthodox Jews. I am still trying to be recognizable (“basically the same guy you’ve always known”), but it is becoming increasingly difficult.

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