Noise creates excitement and speeds up life:
“I can tell you,” he said, "people don’t want a space that’s really dead quiet, because that feels empty. And if it feels empty, it’s not going to feel successful. It’s not going to feel fun. You know, noise makes a place feel like it’s got a buzz."
He cited, unexpectedly, September 11th as the moment when the trend toward raucous, informal, let-it-all hang out urban hoedown aesthetics took off. “People want to enjoy life more, and be more in the world. They don’t want to have these insular kinds of experiences of coffin-like, very tailored dressy restaurants. People want to be in the flow of life.”
And a study completed in the summer of 2008 in France found that when music was played at 72 decibels, men consumed an average of 2.6 drinks at a rate of one drink per 14.51 minutes. When the sound level was cranked up to 88 decibels, the numbers spiked to an average of 3.4 drinks, with one consumed every 11.47 minutes. Reasons for this acceleration may include an increase in ambient energy, and a consequent increase of difficulty in talking, which makes it easier to just signal the bartender for a refill than to engage in conversation. It may also be explained by actual changes in brain chemistry.
As I discovered repeatedly while researching my book, In Pursuit of Silence, we must always bear in mind that noise is a real, physical stimulant. Sound waves literally energize us. Moreover, the stimulation that noise provides is one that’s particularly effective at heightening other forms of stimulation. (Hence the jacked up volumes in our sports stadiums and the tendency for soldiers on battle missions to crave heavy metal.) To begin unraveling the problem of noise in our restaurants, like the noise of our culture in general, we have to acknowledge the actual energy dynamic at work in our hunger for over-stimulation—and start thinking about what might replace it as an ideal.That's George Prochnik. Here's how he describes places of worship in his book:There are many complaints believers and nonbelievers might level against God in the big Western city today, but one thing you have to concede is that He is supreme at keeping the places where is He is worshiped silent. The vast majority of churches in a city like New York are usually empty. The withdrawal of faith from the urban house of faith has left some awfully dark holes filled with glorious, ecumenical silence.If silence is good for us, why does it repel us? Should we be trying to make our churches noisier places, or should they be preserved as sanctuaries?
... I sat in one of the pews thanking God, or God's absence, for the quality of silence that remains behind. Silence in a deserted temple is to God is as the imprint sleep left on some soft bed is to a departed dreamer.