In the modern world places of silence have become rare. During the industrialisation noise has become a synonym for modernism. Many people even celebrate noisy engines as an image of strength or horse power. In the wake of the 21st century is has become evident that this co-evolution has made us sick and whole cities suffer from the abundant sources of noise.
Can we talk about silence? No, wrong approach, but we can write or realise images dealing with silence. Yes, surely. Spiritual locations often build on the mystic experience that silence might incur. Measuring silence in physics is a lot more complicated. Sound has several forms of measurement. Also, silence is probably experienced by most of us as a relative concept. Compared to a noisy atmosphere we might appreciate less noisy situations as more or less silent already.
Therefore, a reasonable, but evasive definition of silence is the absence of noise. Depending on our auditive capabilities different persons will define silence at different levels. Sound near us blends into sound in the background and vice versa.
Temporality plays an important role. In complete silence we might imagine even to be dead. Otherwise, some distant vibes or vibrations will reach us and potentially stimulate our senses. Silence works as a bridge between two atmospheric impressions. It creates a feeling of expectation for something still unknown. Silence is underrated as our smart phone attempts to disrupt silence as much as possible to draw our attention to messages or reminders. Hence, silence is about to be turned into a new status symbol. Practice of meditation, listening to isolate and subsequently to discard sound, has become an advanced level competence, not only for musicians. Feel free to be silent and see what happens around you. It is easy in locations of supposed spirituality or in most libraries. Almost everywhere else you have a hard time to experience a silent atmosphere.
The composer John Cage made silence the title of one of his quite well known pieces. The willingness to pay for the entry to the silent concert might be surprising although the listening experience is unique to each location and diversity of audience. Composing silence remains a challenge, making noise is easy. (Image: NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, extract of Link)