Quiet

By

Leonard Zwelling

         The world is a noisy place and quiet is drastically
underrated as a holy state.

         First, it helps you sleep. I know when I am in Manhattan,
even 50 floors above street level, it is never silent, and that’s not conducive
to a good night’s sleep. I think that’s why everything stays open in Manhattan
24/7. It’s too loud for sleep, so you need something else to do.

         Second, quiet is also conducive to rational thought, perhaps
the only quantity in today’s world less common than quiet itself. I mean
really, when you listen to any politician on television does he or she make any
sense? Either politicians answer a question with a question or answer a
completely different question than the one they were asked and it is usually
one that no one wants the answer to. Mrs. Clinton is particularly good at this,
but so is the GOP field of dreams (or nightmares, depending on your point of
view). Stupidity is still the most powerful force in the universe.

         Third, quiet is an absence and in today’s face-booked,
twittered, you tubed and ridiculously connected, non-communicating world,
presence is everything. People are generally uncomfortable with absence, yet
the essence of mindfulness and awareness is the emptying of consciousness to be
open to the larger world beyond the borders of your being. Quiet is a real plus, especially if it penetrates to your core—mind and body. I understand that 80%
of success is showing up, a presence. But 20% must be something else. I think
it’s quiet.

I
think 100% of putting in golf is quiet. Ask Dustin Johnson.

         In golf, quiet is everything. Sure they shush the galleries
before a big putt, but the best of golfers silence the monkey mind that can
creep into their swings and step up to the ball fully committed to a result and
no longer thinking about how to do it. That has been decided. Now—quiet and
performance.

         I spend a lot of my days in quiet. Without it, I could not
write and I surely could not think. I am grateful for quiet.

         What I would be even more grateful for is quiet from others.

         When Mr. Obama says that the Affordable Care Act is part of
the fabric of America or some other such nonsense, wouldn’t he be better
keeping quiet? When he admits to still having no strategy to deal with ISIS,
should he shush? When Mrs. Clinton tries to convince us that all that money for
her, her husband or the Clinton Global Initiative was given with no
expectations of any quid pro quo from
the foreign donors making the contributions while she ran the State Department,
couldn’t she simply say nothing instead of opening her mouth and saying
nothing? Quiet! And, just so you know, if you don’t already, that I am an equal
opportunity offender, the entire GOP field has yet to say anything of substance
with regard to the direction the candidates wish to take the country that is
different from the one chosen (???) by Mr. Obama or the one tripped into by
President W.

         On the GOP side the noise is overwhelming and the illogic
even more so. Those guys (plus one gal) are going to have to convince America
that market forces, big money on Wall Street, deregulation of rapacious and
predatory businessmen, and a myriad of special interests for rich people can
somehow restore the American middle class to its previous stature of having a
chance of catching a bit of the American dream. Good luck with that one Mario,
Scott and Jebber.

         What if they had a debate and no one showed up? Or better
yet, why not have them show up and say nothing so it really is the beauty
contest it purports not to be, yet we know it really is. OK, OK. A debate must
have some sound. They each get to give one answer to the question, “why do you
think Americans should think you would be a good President?” You have 50 words
or less and one minute. If you can’t do it, how good will you be on Colbert’s
new show for that’s the amount of words you are likely to get in edgewise.

        

I
vote for more quiet and that goes double for the leaders of MD Anderson whose
lack of silence actually includes voluminous emails that I am grateful to no
longer receive. Have the executives ever considered fewer notices but making
each one meaningful? I doubt it. Verbosity has become the substitute for
profundity and we all know “brevity is the soul of wit” despite the speaker of
that famous line having little of either (Polonius in Hamlet Act 2, Scene 2).
That seems to be the case in our national and institutional political lives as
well.

         I have an idea. How about a Day of Silence? In all cases, it
would be the Silence of the Hams and a very welcome bit of quiet we all might
enjoy.

Leonard Zwelling