Choosing Silence

Sunday, January 30, 2011 – Choosing Silence

Look wise, say nothing, and grunt. Speech was given to conceal thought. ~ Sir William Osler

Silence is one of the hardest arguments to refute. ~ Josh Billings

An inability to stay quiet is one of the most conspicuous failings of mankind. ~ Walter Bagehot

Silence is the universal refuge, the sequel to all dull discourses and all foolish acts, a balm to our every chagrin, as welcome after satiety as after disappointment. ~ Henry David Thoreau

Accustomed to the veneer of noise, to the shibboleths of promotion, public relations, and market research, society is suspicious of those who value silence. ~ John Lahr

Soon silence will have passed into legend. Man has turned his back on silence. Day after day he invents machines and devices that increase noise and distract humanity from the essence of life, contemplation, meditation… tooting, howling, screeching, booming, crashing, whistling, grinding, and trilling bolster his ego. His anxiety subsides. His inhuman void spreads monstrously like a gray vegetation. ~ Jean Arp

I have often lamented that we cannot close our ears with as much ease as we can our eyes. ~ Richard Steele

Nowadays most men lead lives of noisy desperation. ~ James Thurber

Now all my teachers are dead except silence. ~ W. S. Merwin

The silence depressed me. It wasn’t the silence of silence. It was my own silence. ~ Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Silence is as deep as eternity; speech, shallow as time. ~ Thomas Carlyle

Silence is a text easy to misread. ~ A. A. Attanasio

As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence. ~ Benjamin Franklin

Her hearing was keener than his, and she heard silences he was unaware of. ~ D. M. Thomas

A painter paints his pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence. We provide the music, and you provide the silence. ~ Leopold Stokowski

Music is the silence between the notes. ~ Claude Debussy

There are many types of silence. There is a silence before the note, there is a silence at the end and there is a silence in the middle. ~ Daniel Barenboim

After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music. ~ Aldous Huxley

A small silence came between us, as precise as a picture hanging on the wall. ~ Jean Stafford

Poetry is an orphan of silence. The words never quite equal the experience behind them. ~ Charles Simic

Absolute silence leads to sadness. It is the image of death. ~ Jean Jacques Rousseau

And they write innumerable books; being too vain and distracted for silence: seeking every one after his own elevation, and dodging his emptiness. ~ T. S. Eliot

Choose silence of all virtues, for by it you hear other men’s imperfections, and conceal your own. ~ George Bernard Shaw

Every word is like an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness. ~ Samuel Beckett

It is tact that is golden, not silence. ~ Samuel Butler

Silence is golden when you can’t think of a good answer. ~ Muhammad Ali

Silence is not only golden, it is seldom misquoted. ~ Bob Monkhouse

Silence is so accurate. ~ Mark Rothko

Silence is the most perfect expression of scorn. ~ George Bernard Shaw

Silence moves faster when it’s going backward. ~ Jean Cocteau

Much talking is the cause of danger. Silence is the means of avoiding misfortune. The talkative parrot is shut up in a cage. Other birds, without speech, fly freely about. ~ Saskya Pandita

Speech and silence. We feel safer with a madman who talks than with one who cannot open his mouth. ~ Emile M. Cioran

The water in a vessel is sparkling; the water in the sea is dark. The small truth has words which are clear; the great truth has great silence. ~ Rabindranath Tagore

You haven’t partied until you’ve partied at dawn in complete silence with Buddhist monks. ~ Cameron Diaz

I believe in the discipline of silence and could talk for hours about it. ~ George Bernard Shaw

We should silence anyone who opposes the right to freedom of speech. ~ Boyle Roche

Speech may be barren; but it is ridiculous to suppose that silence is always brooding on a nestful of eggs. ~ George Eliot

Blessed are they who have nothing to say, and who cannot be persuaded to say it. ~ James Russell Lowell

Men fear silence as they fear solitude, because both give them a glimpse of the terror of life’s nothingness. ~ Andre Maurois

My personal hobbies are reading, listening to music, and silence. ~ Edith Sitwell

When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence. ~ Ansel Adams

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