Friday 28 October 1664

Slept ill all night, having got a very great cold the other day at Woolwich in [my] head, which makes me full of snot. Up in the morning, and my tailor brings me home my fine, new, coloured cloth suit, my cloake lined with plush, as good a suit as ever I wore in my life, and mighty neat, to my great content.
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the world’s quietest room

The more I experience silence the more is the outcome rich and productive. There are very slight overtones, quiet hums, rumbles and these are not all due to pulsing of the blood activity in my eardrums, maybe the vibration of the head itself.  I was sitting particularly quietly and meditating on silence about which a lot has been written.

I remember reading that existence in an anechoic room is  very difficult to bear for a long time and it can send people out of their mind. I believe the record is 45 minutes in the ‘Worlds quietest place’ which is in the Orfield Laboratories in South Minnepolis.

The Quietists were a movement of Catholic monks based in France, Italy and Spain starting in the 1670’s. It was later dismissed as heretical as it elevated contemplation over meditation, intellectual stillness over vocal prayer, interior passivity over action, spiritual growth and union with God.

The quietest place I have every experienced was in Northern Finland which is well beyond the arctic circle. Ice and snow are good absorbers of sound and you can literally hear yourself breathing, and even see your breath due to the intense cold.

Silence! vs Sit quietly! There is a difference in meaning and implication. The first is the vocative tense, and order. The second is descriptive. The former contains an element of duress. We can  be ‘silenced’ by something but not ‘quietened’.

Noise is a physical thing, the pressure of sound waves,  measured by decibels, named after Alexander Graham Bell of the USA. However, peace is an entirely different animal. This is about the harmony of the mind body spirit enabling a human being to conduct themselves with equanimity (lovely word). I find the human psyche to be robust and enduring but we need to give it the circumstances it needs to function but then you did not need me to tell you that.

Sunday is my day of rest and the computer was not even switched on until 5pm. I did not miss it though <confession> after 24 hours I would probably get a bit twitchy.

I was tempted to have a log fire this evening. Our worthy chimney sweeper came on Friday to do his annual deed. He has all the latest gear and makes no mess. The brushes are operated by an electric drill. The whole process took 25 minutes.  It is useful also to have an official certificate for the insurance company as many house fires are caused by an accumulation of soot in the chimney (4,193 incidents in 2015-2016). I did not know that temperatures can rise to 1000 degrees centigrade

Now to watch  David Attenborough’s latest nature offering, Blue Planet II



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