“…we have lost the ability to hear each other, to hear ourselves or to hear God.”
Noise, noise, noise! Constant noise is one of the plagues of modern life and was even in Rabbi Olan’s day. Too much noise can lead to deafness. Noise pollution also effects our minds and bodies in other ways. In fact, barraging the enemy with excessive decibels of sound is a modern (as well as ancient) way of waging war.
I invite you to take a few minutes for reflection. How is the noise level in your neighborhood? How is it at work or school and in your home? How is your internal noise level? This final question is where Rabbi Olan wanted to lead his radio audience.
Our bodies adjust to loud noise levels by turning off our hearing. When we become overwhelmed by a relentless barrage of words we adjust by turning off our listening. Perhaps we’re not missing much. After all, Olan stated that “The shallowness of modern life is very much related to the constant babble that surrounds us.”
On the other hand, if we can no longer hear our neighbor’s pain, our family members’ needs, our own internal voices, and the voice of God, we are in trouble. The problem that Olan identified in 1967 has grown into a national crisis of unlistening today. The solution? We need to work on this. A helpful first step might be to read or listen to Rabbi Olan’s sermon, “Please Stop and Listen.”
*Written by Tim Binkley*