Meditations on silence

Meditations on silence

Rory put his finger on what’s different about being out here. It’s not that there is less information here than in the city (in civilization, I suppose) but everything out here is relevant.

It’s not silent here, There’s a lot of sound actually: the waves, the engines, the wind, the rigging, the bangs and pops and creaks of the boat. Lots of visual data as well, the shape and pattern of the waves, the clouds, the position and shape of the sails, wheel and lines, dozens of electronic sensors conveying various information. Olfactory data too: the salt air, a little diesel when the engines run, slightly cooked squid on the foredeck, coffee and peach cobbler.

But the difference is, it is all relevant data. Most of us spend most of our time figuring out how to ignore irrelevant inputs: noise. All the inputs here are meaningful signals, that may drive actions or decisions.

Seriously. Think about how much effort it takes to process data and determine that it does not affect you or you cannot affect it, and it is therefore irrelevant noise. It’s a huge amount of cognitive effort! (Facebook comes to mind. A lot of my email does, as well.).

Here there is almost no meaningless data. The shape of the clouds foretells the weather. The sound of the wind indicates whether we need to trim the sails. The bouncing of the jibsail tells me whether I need to get up and trim it. There are no Facebook memes to ignore. No news broadcasts to get fruitlessly upset about.

Have you tried to eliminate all the valueless noise inputs in your life? I recommend it.

5 comments on “Meditations on silence
  1. Ray McCaughey says:


  2. Catherine says:

    You just described what we all need. In the form of a vacation or regular breaks.

  3. Joy says:

    Well explained! Everything has its purpose out there!

  4. Wesley E. Snyder says:

    Possibly the best piece of philosophy I have ever read

  5. Balbina says:

    I keep saying to David what is it about Ondine that virtually having the same things to do on land and on the sea, why life is so much more hectic on land. And the conclusion was the same. It is the noise, fortunately having spent a lot of time on Ondine, we have now started to replicate that peace on our land home too. Safe travels !!!

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