Sounds, Silence, Speech, Noise, Listening

Quotations, Sayings, Aphorisms, Clichés, Quips, Quotes, Wisdom, Poetry, Facts, Comments

Prepared by Michael P. Garofalo, M.S. 
Green Way Research, Red Bluff, California


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"Unlike seeing, where one can look away, one cannot 'hear away' but must listen ... hearing implies already belonging together in such a manner that one is claimed by what is being said."
-  Hans-Georg Gadamer 


"Read with your ears."
-  Gerald Manley Hopkins


"Men trust their ears less than their eyes."
-  Herodotus


"Our problem is that sound is not important in our culture.  We know the world from the visual, not from the other senses.  I had to be taught other ways of understanding."
-  Bernie Krause, sound recordist, Wild Sanctuary


"Trees are sanctuaries.  Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth.  They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life."
-  Hermann Hesse, Wandering


"I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order."
-  John Burroughs


"There is no such thing as an empty space or an empty time.  There is always something to see, something to hear.
In fact, try as we may to make a silence, we cannot."
-  John Cage


"The ear tends to be lazy, craves the familiar, and is shocked by the unexpected: the eye, on the other hand, tends to be impatient, craves the novel and is bored by repetition."
-  W.H. Auden, The Dyer's Hand


"Fieldes have eies and woods have eares."
-  John Heywood, 1565


"Silence is more musical than any song."
-  Christina Rossetti


"In wilderness people can find the silence and the solitude and the noncivilized surroundings that can connect them
once again to their evolutionary heritage, and through an experience of the eternal mystery, can give them a sense
of the sacredness of all creation."
-  Sigurd Olson (1899-1982)


"The inability to stay quiet is one of the conspicuous failings of mankind."
-  Walter Bagehot, 1870


"As the waves of perfume, heliotrope, rose, 
Float in the garden when no wind blows, 
Come to us, go from us, whence no one knows; 

So the old tunes float in my mind, 
And go from me leaving no trace behind, 
Like fragrance borne on the hush of the wind.
-  Sara Teasdale, 
Old Tunes


"There are many matters and many circumstances in which consciousness is undesirable and silence is golden, so that
secrecy can be used as a marker to tell us that we are approaching the holy."
-  Gregory Bateson, Angels Fear 


"I have often regretted my speech, never my silence."
-  Anonymous


"Solitude, though it may be silent as light, is like light, the mightiest of agencies; for solitude is essential to man.  All men come into this world alone and leave it alone."
-  Thomas De Quincey 


"Not merely an absence of noise, Real Silence begins when a reasonable being withdraws from the noise in order to find peace and order in his inner sanctuary."
-  Peter Minard


"I wonder about the trees.
Why do we wish to bear
Forever the noise of these
More than another noise
So close to our dwelling place?"
-  Robert Frost, The Sound of Trees


"I have often lamented that we cannot close our ears with as much ease as we can our eyes."
-  Richard Steele, 1720


"There's music in the sighing of a reed;
There's music in the gushing of a rill;
There's music in all things, if men had ears:
Their earth is but an echo of the spheres."
-  Lord Byron


"There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it."
-  Minnie Aumonier  


"Passions are likened best to floods and streams: The shallow murmur, but the deep are dumb."
-  Sir Walter Raleigh, 1552 - 1618 


"Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life."
-  Berthold Auerbach


"The object of our lives is to look at, listen to, touch, taste things.  Without them, - these sticks, stones, feathers, shells, - there is no Deity."
R. H. Blyth, Zen in English Literature and Oriental Classics, p. 144.


"Organismic awareness is what we - on the Ego Level - ordinarily, but clumsily, refer to as seeing, touching, tasting, smelling and hearing.   But in its very purest form, this "sensual awareness" is non-symbolic, non-conceptual, momentary consciousness.  Organismic awareness is awareness of the Present only -  you can't taste the past, smell the past, see the past, touch the past, or hear the past.  Neither can you taste, smell, see, touch or hear the future.   In other words, organismic consciousness is properly timeless, and being timeless, it is essentially spaceless.  Just as organismic awareness knows no past or future, it knows no inside or outside, no self or other.  Thus pure organismic consciousness participates fully in the non-dual awareness called Absolute Subjectivity."
-  Ken Wilber, Spectrum of Consciousness, 1977, p. 115 


"As the cow and goat, as well as the herb, the tree and the vegetation, can read the thoughts of us all, chanting and singing should occur while tending to their needs."
-  Hindu Deva Shastra, verse 439,  Nature Devas 


"What a pity flowers can utter no sound!—A singing rose, a whispering violet, a murmuring honeysuckle ... oh, what a rare and exquisite miracle would these be!" 
-  Henry Ward Beecher



"Seek silence.
Gladden in silence.
Adore silence.

As one progresses on the path, one seeks silence more and more.
It will be a great comfort, a tremendous source of solace and peace.

Once you find deep solitude and calm, there will be a great gladness in your heart.
Here finally is the place where you need neither defense nor offense -- the place where you can truly be open.
There will be bliss, wonder, the awe of attaining something pure and sacred.

After that, you will feel adoration of silence.
This is the peace that seems to elude so many.
This is the beauty of Tao."
-  Deng Ming-Dao, 365 Tao Daily Meditations



Oak Woodland Sounds - California Trees
By Carol Henderson


"True silence is the rest of the mind; it is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment."
-  William Penn


"I never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude."
-  Henry David Thoreau


"Flowers and plants are silent presences.  They nourish every sense except the ear."  
-  May Sarton


"A farmer routinely slept all night peacefully, even though at exactly 3.07 every
morning a train passed and blew its whistle very loud and long.  Then one night
for some reason the train did not pass.  At 3.07 the farmer sat up, wild-eyed,
in the dark silence and said, "What was that ?"


"Solitude is a silent storm that breaks down all our dead branches; yet it sends our living roots deeper into the living heart of the living earth."
-  Kahlil Gibran


"I have come to terms with the future.  From this day onward I will walk easy on the earth.  Plant trees.  Kill no living things.  Live in harmony with all creatures.  I will restore the earth where I am.  Use no more of its resources than I need.  And listen, listen to what it is telling me." 
-  M. J. Slim Hooey


"A happy life must be to a great extent a quiet life, for it is only in an atmosphere of quiet that true joy can live."
-  Bertrand Russell


"A few days ago I walked along the edge of the lake and was treated to the crunch and rustle of leaves with each step I made.  The acoustics of this season are different and all sounds, no matter how hushed, are as crisp as autumn air."
-  Eric Sloane


"I love to seclude myself in my garden, away from the hustle and bustle of daily living.  It gives me a chance to focus on my surroundings.  Soon, all I notice is that beautiful "Betty Prior" rose just opening or those pines whispering stories to
each other.  And the clatter and roar of modern life fades into the background."
-  Jim Childs, Sounds in the Garden, Garden Gate, No. 28, August 1999, pp. 14-17.  In this article he discusses how to deal with sound waves in landscape design by absorption, deflection, reflection, and refraction. 


"We live on the leash of our senses.  There is no way in which to understand the world without first detecting it through the radar-net of our senses."  
-  Diane Ackerman


seeks the center
of every tree and rock,
that thing we hold closest—the end
of songs."
-  Michael McClintock, Mutations,
Cinquain from Amaze 


"Nor rural sights alone, but rural sounds,
Exhilirate the spirit, and restore
The tone of languid nature."
-  William Cowper


"Snowmobiles, jet skis, dirt bikes, ATVs - oh for the days when people lived lives of quiet desperation."
-  Terry Morse


"When they turned off, it was still early in the pink and green fields.  The fumes of morning, sweet and bitter, sprang up where they walked.  The insects ticked softly, their strength in reserve; butterflies chopped the air, going to the east, and the birds flew carelessly and sang by fits and starts, not the way they did in the evening in sustained and drowsy songs."
-  Eudora Welty, The Wide Net  


"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music."
-  Aldos Huxley


"Only in quiet waters do things mirror themselves undistorted.
Only in a quiet mind is adequate perception of the world."
-  Hans Margolius


"It travels inside and out of each of Nature's ears
Chattering noisily
Unwilling to permit you not to listen
Yet paying no heed to your ability to understand."
-  Chang Shiang-hua


"I do not know which to prefer -
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after."
-  Wallace Stevens, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird, 1923


"Silence is not a thing we make; it is something into which we enter.  It is always there.  All we can make is noise."
-  Mother Maribel of Wantage


"St. John of the Cross points out that the divine music can best be heard in solitude and silence.  The sonorous music is not a physical sound that vibrates the eardrum but something transcending the senses.  Physical solitude and silence remove the distracting noises that prevent us from hearing on deeper levels."
-  Charles Cummings


"Don't underestimate the value of Doing Nothing,
of just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear,

and not bothering."
-  Pooh's Little Instruction Book, inspired by A. A. Milne


"Listening to the eternal involves a silence within us."
-  Thomas Kelly, Reality and the Spiritual World


"Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listed to us are the ones we move toward, and we want to sit in their radius.  When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand."
-  Karl Menninger


"The hum of bees is the voice of the garden."   
-  Elizabeth Lawrence


"Silence is our deepest nature, our home, our common ground, our peace.  Silence reveals.  Silence heals."
-  Gunilla Norris


"Rocks pray to," said Grandad.  "Pebbles and boulders and old weathered hills.  They are still and silent, and
those are two important ways to pray."
-  Douglas Wood, Grandad's Prayers of the Earth. 


"Maybe if I listen closely to the rocks
Next time, I'll hear something, if not
A word, perhaps the faint beginning
of a syllable."
-  Phoebe Hanson


"There is in all things an inexhaustible sweetness and purity, a silence that is a fount of action and joy.  It rises up in wordless gentleness and flows out to me from the unseen roots of all created being, welcoming me tenderly, saluting me with indescribable humility."
-  Thomas Merton


"The bare earth, plantless, waterless, is an immense puzzle. In the forests or beside rivers everything speaks to humans. The desert does not speak.  I could not comprehend its tongue; its silence...."
-  Pablo Neruda 


They spoke no word,
The visitor, the host
And the white chrysanthemum.

-  Ryota


"Accustomed to the veneer of noise, to the shibboleths of promotion, public relations, and market research, society is suspicious of those who value silence."
-  John Lahr




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This webpage was last modified or updated on February 1, 2015. 

This webpage was first placed on the Internet on April 15, 2013.   

Green Way Research, Red Bluff, California

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