Cityvisitor blog

Could you really cope with total silence

A video upload of someone testing out an anechoic chamber at an university in Utah…

…has caught a lot of people’s interest on the internet recently. The ten-minute video was made by Derek Muller from YouTube science video blog Veritasium. It shows Muller being shut into what Brigham Young University calls the ‘most quiet place on earth’ and remaining in it for more than an hour. The longest anyone has managed was 45 minutes, apparently.

The video blogger ask, can silence actually drive you crazy?

Maybe not actually crazy, the answer might be, but maybe it could make most people decidedly uncomfortable.

These days we’re so dependent on our mobile interactive device that it would come as a harsh shock to most of us if we were left completely alone with our thoughts.  But it would be absolute bliss to be ‘unreachable’, I hear a few of you shout.

Some high-flying business people would pay good money for the luxury of not having to answer calls or emails. But think about it for a moment.

In an anechoic chamber such as the one at BYU, there is no sensory stimulation whatsoever and, unless they fall asleep, a person in it cannot escape what’s going round in their heads. Anything negative in a person’s life is likely to come crushing in on them without distractions such as TV, games, phones, or tablets.

Muller says at the end of his video that he felt comfortable and that he could have spent even longer in the chamber, but I wonder what he thought about in those minutes when all he could hear was his own heartbeat.

So before we condemn anyone too quickly as being addicted to texting, internet surfing or gaming, we should acknowledge that maybe that’s what keeps us sane.

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