In Pursuit of Silence: Listening or Meaning in a World of Noise


I would like you are to do an essay on “Pursuit of Silence: Listening for Meaning in a World of Noise.” By George Prochnik 2010. You may do a 2+ page essay on this book. APA, remember grammar and punctuation.

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In Pursuit of Silence: Listening or Meaning in a World of Noise

This book is based on exquisite and practical research that draws structural lessons from spiritual, philosophical, historical, and emotional components. George Prochnik applies a witty and direct language to develop the theme of silence and noise in modern society. Remarkably, Prochnik directs awareness to the levels of noise and silence that are present in daily life and environment. This triggers a conscious observation of the noise pollution and the high rate at which this has been normalized in modern society. To demonstrate the extent o this effect, Prochnik singles out how most people immediately turn on the television immediately they get home and settle in the living room (Prochnik, 2011). Through his experiences at monasteries, Prochnik then observes that people are less inclined to silence because this forces them to face themselves, their thoughts, and fears which further propels feelings of loneliness and separation. Use these experiences, he is exposed to the unknown world that borders on the mystery. Yet despite the high levels of noise, he relates it to serious risks such as heart disease, depression, psychosis, blood pressure, anxiety, and autism.


For many who are consciously aware of the noise around them and bear a great desire for silence, searching for positive silence acquires great importance. Even in the authorship of the book, Prochnik uses silence to dip back into his creative abilities and reinforce the essence of the book’s meaning (Prohnik, 2011). Even so, the search and utilization of silence requires deliberate focus and intent. The noise has infiltrated nearly all forms of society and allows for no escape especially during an individual’s daily activities. Workplaces and learning environments are bustling with noise and activity, with the transport and communication networks further exacerbatingthis problem of noise pollution. In fact, the author notes that the communication scope has greatly transformed towards efforts to develop personal noise which many prefer to public noise. At the same time, these personal noise devices are used at home and during one’s free time when a person would otherwise search for true silence.

According to Prochnik (2011, it is only in silence can an individual truly develop their level of attention and awareness of their surroundings. He gives the example of monks, who have truly incorporated the art of silence as a big component of their daily lifestyle (Prochnik, 2011). Consequently, these groups of people have mastered the process of calmness, concentration and interpretation of knowledge. It is this clarity of thought and being that should be the motivating factor to pursue silence regularly and actually focus on concentration and calmness. As the world changes and becomes even more stressful, more people are being exposed to depression, anxiety and numerous mental illnesses.

It is possible, though difficult, to develop a communal and societal culture of silence appreciation. Teachers and students of the art of silence have to further awareness on the benefits of silence as Prochnik does by continuing to share insights based on his experiences and those of other professionals (Prochnik, 2011). Through such efforts, more people can begin to understand new complex advertising strategies such as sound branding which greatly influence consumers to buy more of a company’s products and services (Prochnik, 2011). This is a reflection of the evolution of noise and a symbol ofits potential in the future. As technology continues to diversify, projections indicate that this rate of growth will be even higher in the next five decades. Subsequently, the amount of noise will increase in proportion to this technological development. In order to sustain control and dominance over these tools and scientific developments, conscious silence must be applied to establish a stronger human identity as well as a strong sense of autonomy and balance.


Prochnik, G. (2011). In Pursuit of Silence: Listening or Meaning in a World of Noise. New York: Anchor.

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