· Vatican City ·

Silence in the world of communications

 Silence in the  world of  communications  ING-012
22 March 2024

The world of communication should experience its own Lenten Season, reconsidering what is not right in its existence, and putting itself through a process of conversion. It is a difficult task. The contemporary Western world is so permeated with communication that it seems that everything exists as long as it is communication, as if, just because everything can be communicated via the current means of communication (today known as devices), then everything must be communicated.

In view of all this, with its message made of images and actions such as the desert, fasting, silence… Lent can truly become an occasion as precious as ever. In 1991, French philosopher Gilles Deleuze published the essay, What is Philosophy, in which he wrote this perceptive reflection: “We do not lack communication; on the contrary, we have too much of it. We lack creation. We lack resistance to the present”. And in the essay, Negotiations, he wrote: “We’re riddled with pointless talk, insane quantities of words and images. Stupidity’s never blind or mute. So it’s not a problem of getting people to express themselves but of providing little gaps of solitude and silence in which they might eventually find something to say. Repressive forces don’t stop people expressing themselves but rather force them to express themselves; what a relief to have nothing to say, the right to say nothing, because only then is there a chance of framing the rare, and ever rarer, thing that might be worth saying”.

Deleuze was right. We lack creation. One can’t see the forest for the trees. The saturation of communication prevents creativity, the soul of communication, from emerging. The French philosopher strongly links creativity with solitude and silence, imagining the recovery of these two dimensions as an act of “resistance”, a release from the tyranny of the “present”. We are absorbed by situations, by circumstances, by what needs to be done, and our agenda is only what it means: “things to do”. Perhaps we should throw it away every now and then and try to stay within those “gaps” and listen. Silence and solitude could be the path for a fruitful Lent for the world of communication.

This same direction was pointed out by one of the greatest writers of the 1900s who died 100 years ago on 3 June 1924, Franz Kafka: “You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet”. If the author’s provocation grasps the truth, then the relationship between people who work in communications, and the world, should be reassessed, in order to ask the question: What is the mindset that inspires those who work in communications? An “extractive” mentality, the world as an object of study, a cadaver on the table of the anatomical pathologist, a crime scene to investigate and through which to morbidly rummage, or a place inhabited by subjects, people with a dignity to be respected, a living place, a living organism that first of all needs to be listened to, possibly with love? (A. Monda)

Andrea Monda