Cook: Megaphones, everywhere: how to find silence in loud times

We’ve reached the end of privatized prisons in Hamilton County.

The governor wants to take down the Capitol’s Nathan Bedford Forrest statue.

Space leaders proceed to call for the resignation of county Sheriff Jim Hammond.

And, in a mandate I by no means imagined in my lifetime, the county mayor declared citizens should put on a masks in public or danger jail time or a $50 nice.

All this within the final seven days.

There’s a lot to debate, applaud, criticize.

At present, nevertheless, I need to discuss one thing else.


At present, I need to say nothing.


These really feel like Tower of Babel occasions.

There are such a lot of totally different voices saying so many alternative issues.

We hear medical specialists who say one factor.

We hear extra medical specialists who say one other.

We hear conspiracy theorists, politicians, libertarians, activists, Trump supporters, Democratic Socialists, researchers, anti-maskers, mask-wearers, pundits, preachers and fools.

All of them say various things.

Like this:

In April, the U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention stated each American ought to put on a masks.

Days later, the World Health Organization said masks aren’t necessary for healthy people.

Who will we hearken to? What will we imagine?

Every day, we’re buffeted by a dozen winds.

It’s exhausting. In every single place, megaphones. In every single place, noise.


Lately, I’ve been fascinated by this Gospel scene:

Jesus stands earlier than Pilate, his executioner. He’s hours away from crucifixion.

Pilate asks Christ: what’s reality?

Jesus would not reply.

He simply stands in silence.


Why not communicate out? Why not reply?

Why say nothing?


Jesus might have criticized him. Transformed him. Tried to vary his coronary heart. Minimize him all the way down to dimension. Even begged for his life.

Christ wasn’t a church mouse. His voice — his non-silence — put him on loss of life row. You do not problem The Man like he did and get away with it.

He stood earlier than Pilate — the top of the area’s systemic injustice.

Consider all he might have stated. He might have gone viral.

As an alternative, he goes quiet.

What’s reality?

Inform us.



“Silence is violence,” protesters chant.

That is true. The chilly violence of silent complicity encourages scorching violence to happen.

Image the coward. He is afraid. He will not communicate. His silence permits violence to stay unchallenged.

But additionally image the monk.

Her silence is totally different. It is rooted not in concern, however contemplation and reflection.

By staying silent, does she additionally say one thing?

If silence can result in violence, can it additionally result in peace? Can silence turn out to be justice?

Or reality?


Years in the past, my thoughts was so troubled, I started doing one thing unusual: I sat in silence.

With my physique.

My ideas.

My feelings.

Not as they need to be.

However as they’re.

That is meditation.

My thoughts? I noticed it’s usually like a housefly on acid: darting this manner, that approach, inventing, imagining, by no means resting.

My feelings? I need the world to be a sure approach, nevertheless it was usually one other. The outcome? I really feel anger, concern, rage, elation, pleasure, deflation.

Oh, my opinions! My beliefs! I’ve so many, all of them linked to judgment, criticism, wanting the world to be like this. And never like that.

Sitting in silence, I started to see past opinions and beliefs.

“Transcend proper and mistaken,” my instructor says.

However how?


Consider a ping pong sport. The ball goes backwards and forwards, backwards and forwards.

Now consider your opinions and beliefs.

And another person’s.

Your opinion.



And forth.

All opinions and beliefs create an reverse: you imagine this, I imagine that.


And mistaken.

Beliefs and opinions could be lovely issues: they assist us envision the world correctly. Justice, equity, love for neighbor and self — all these include a set of beliefs about how life ought to be.

If solely Trump

If solely my neighbor

If solely my physique

That is the attract. The entice.

We get misplaced in considering, judging, wishing how the world ought to be.

We cease experiencing the world as it’s.

Our lives turn out to be daydreams, fantasies, all large wishes: please, world, be like this and never like that.

What occurs once we step away from the ping pong table?

What occurs once we transfer past proper and mistaken?


I might let you know my opinions about privatized prisons, masks mandates or Accomplice statues.

In doing so, I’d choose up the ping pong ball.

Our sport would start yet again.

However the sport is not life.

It certain as hell is not reality.

I am so uninterested in megaphones. So uninterested in ping pong.

How will we talk about issues that matter with out including to the noise?

How can silence result in peace?

David Cook dinner writes a Sunday column and could be reached at

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David Cook dinner