Silence as a narrative of us

Not speaking and speaking are both human ways of being in the world, and there are kinds and grades of each.


  1. there is the dumb silence of slumber or apathy;
  2. the sober silence that goes with a solemn animal face;
  3. the fertile silence of awareness, pasturing the soul, whence emerge new thoughts;
  4. the alive silence of alert perception, ready to say, “This… this…”;
  5. the musical silence that accompanies absorbed activity;
  6. the silence of listening to another speak, catching the drift and helping him be clear;
  7. the noisy silence of resentment and self-recrimination, loud and subvocal speech but sullen to say it;
  8. baffled silence;
  9. the silence of peaceful accord with other persons or communion with the cosmos.

Paul Goodman on the Nine Kinds of Silence by

14 thoughts on “Silence as a narrative of us

  1. Ahhh, silence… what I was dreaming of this week-end with the children in Vancouver but this might be thwarted with the snow storm we’re currently in the midst of, dang it!

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