I recently discovered the writer, Morgan Robertson. Living in New York at the turn of the last century, he was a real bohemian. His autobiography tells a story both pitiful and humorous; a moving description of an artist who, during his life, struggled to succeed in getting his message to the world. Robertson went so far as to voluntarily commit himself to Belleview Hospital because he believed he was going insane. He was released from Belleview with a clean bill of mental health after a period of observation and left posterity a piquant description of his tenure with the “lunatics”.
When he was about to be released from Belleiew, Robertson knew he had regained his sanity because the whoops and howls of the inmates were starting to get on his nerves. He says it was the barking of dogs, unmusical bellowing and constant racket that drove him to Belleview in the first place.
How would Morgan Robertson have coped with today’s war against quiet? When even what we call music is just a barrier of white noise that has to be increasingly obnoxious and loud in order to compete with the aggressive sound of traffic, sirens, leaf blowers, mowers, ghetto birds, and the rest of the pandemonium. It’s almost impossible to find a store that doesn’t have background “music”. Once, silence was gold, now it’s anathema; it might cause a cataclysmic vacuum between the ears.