#TEDTalkTuesday: The Unexpected Beauty of Everyday Sounds

With this post, I’d like to start a weekly habit: to write about a TED Talk (or any TED video) that I’ve recently seen. My own feed of #TEDTalkTuesday! I’m not going to review them or try to explain its contents through my writing, but I’d like to share here what I’ve gathered from them–thoughts, questions, and all–as I indulge these awe-inspiring (and generous) sharing of knowledge. Basically, this is me trying to chronicle the videos that I’ve seen and listened to so I could preserve the ideas that they sparked in me.

And for my first pick, I’ll feature Meklit Hadero’s The Unexpected Beauty of Everyday Sounds.

Actually, I’ve always wondered before if I was the only one who appreciates the sound of mundane things. Of course I know I’m not, but I’ve never heard anyone talk about how the smooth rustling of their favorite blanket makes them feel warm inside, or how the creaking of their ill-lubricated doorway hinge gives them that I’m home kind of feels. These things are true for me, but in all honesty, I’ve also never talked about them either. And maybe that’s why this talk appealed to me.

Hadero discussed about music in nature, language, and silence (or the lack thereof). Well, I’m not musically inclined to them the way she obviously is, but I’d say that I recognize them, too.

Like, when I am instantly craving when I hear an egg crack and plop into a pan. Or when I am envious when I hear a person flip a page of his or her book with excitement, while I sit around with no book in hand. I become a bit edgy when I hear a familiar elevator clank a certain way that I’ve never heard before. I am roused to write more when I hear and feel the graphite of a pencil dance over a page with every stroke, every word. I am charmed with how crisp a dry leaf crunches under the weight of my step. These sounds can stir me despite their banality. And basically, that’s what music does too, right? So… yeah, I do agree that everything is actually musical. And I’m glad that someone has raised awareness for other people to realize these little things that we so often tune out.

But maybe we dismiss these, consciously or unconsciously, because we’re now wired to be wary of other things. Like, if you’re walking down a crowded street, you’re most probably focusing your attention to your walking pace and the bag that you’re carrying–Is someone following me? Did I just hear my purse’s zip open? Or like when you’re in class and you know that you’ve put your phone in silent mode, and still when someone else’s phone rings (or vibrates) you wonder–Is that mine? Well, it’s not my ringtone. Better check it anyway. 

It’s sad, isn’t it? We’ve become so guarded that we miss the chance to slow down and notice how lovely a walk in a space bustling with energy could be. And we’ve become so attached to technology that we’re tenty of them (and we could even hear the almost-silent tick of our gadgets) but fail to notice other symphonies present in our daily lives.

But to whatever kind of sound we most focus on, bottom line is, we can’t escape into silence. As Hadero pointed out a certain John Cage’s point, “[t]here is no such thing as true silence. (…) Even in the most silent environments, we still hear and feel the sound of our own heartbeats.” And of course, we can’t escape the voice of our core. Don’t we have that own internal (and unending) riff? Truth be told, I’m actually relived that that’s true. Because if it isn’t, I’ll be perpetually haunted by the looming possibility of experiencing absolute auditory oblivion.

Right now, are you listening to what surrounds you? Are you immersed?

Or can you only perceive your inner symphonies?

I hope to hear more from my world and from anywhere beyond. I hope to be more sensitive through listening inside and out.

I hope to feel more.


(To know more about Meklit Hadero, visit her website here. Featured image courtesy of ted.com)

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