What if Truth is Quiet?
In the world today there are a many voices squealing for your attention and a share of your mind. Ideas live and die through their human hosts and attention spans are growing shorter every year. An idea that could comfortably retire in the minds of a few can’t make ends meet these days. He must slavishly reproduce: continually racing from mouth to ear in hopes that he is not forgotten. And the young ideas do this well, their hustle is admirable. Those with money at their heels or an infectious personality have no trouble surviving in this economy. But the unemployed cannot be conflated with the undeserving. The system is geared against them in the same way that industrialization changed the fates of farmers everywhere. And who would doubt that farming is a noble trade. But under the clouds of ideas outspoken there is a dearth of new sprouts and the death of old trees. And with this shift, our world becomes venue to an unnoticed senicide that risks our most valuable possessions as humans: our accumulated ideas.
There are not many representatives of the unconnected lifestyle on the internet. Save a few homeless people who utilize libraries to update blogs about their adventures, most of the unconnected stay that way. There’s also nothing particularly “viral” about their way of life aside from maybe making do with little or failing to gorge themselves on all that society has to offer. But if this group had a representative, she would be a quiet person with a meek personality. I suspect to meet her you’d need to drive many hours away from town to discuss life as it once was. The encounter would be meaningful, no doubt, but you’d easily leave with the impression that this sort of life is simply not yours to hold for now. Maybe later. And this woman is one of many. The Quiet.
But walk into a grocery store and pan the aisles. Millions of brands, messages, colors, slogans. Not bad things, but certainly loud. On the streets outside, the loudest get to eat. Democracy is about being heard, and part of being heard is heaving a megaphone at every person in earshot. “Without awareness, we will be smothered. Join me in chorus.” The timid and cautious at work get left behind as the risk takers grab the stage. Their entrance is met by applause from the audience who were holding out for a hero the whole time. “Thank goodness he’s come; this man will right our sinking ship.” We enamor ourselves with the self-aggrandizing and make celebrities of the most vain. And to our defense, we certainly don’t leave them without instruction: “Dance. The public eye is also the hand that feeds you.”
And maybe our saving idea is already in our midst. Maybe our champion is loud and we’ve found him and our only task is to cheer him on. Perhaps we’re doing things right after all!
…but I can’t help but wonder if the Quiet Truths are walking home, bored of the bitter fights for attention and unable to rectify themselves with a world that requires they change to be wanted. I’m really not saying that change is bad and progress is our enemy. But I do think the failure we’ve hoisted is a flawed economy of ideas, simply because we have no means to measure our losses and no way to stop the bleeding.
Here’s to hoping our true idea hero hasn’t given up yet, wherever he is.