I struggled with attention/focus issues. I was that kid in the back of the room who couldn’t keep still/quiet.
Now that I’m older, I’ve tried to find ways to help me manage my issues. One thing I’ve always wanted to try is a “quiet room.” I think that it would be helpful for me, force me to focus and calm down.
Or maybe it would drive me insane. It’s a toss-up.
Apparently, the quietest room in the world—and that’s according to Guinness—is so quiet that many have reported having hallucinations while in the room for extended periods of time. Housed at Orfield Laboratory in Minnesota, the “anechoic chamber” is 99.99% sound absorbent, and the current record length of time spent in the room is only forty-five minutes! That doesn’t seem like much, but according to the story reported by the Daily Mail, we actually use sound to help us get our bearings and to respond to our environment. The article quotes the president of the company, Steven Orfield, as saying:
How you orient yourself is through sounds you hear when you walk. In the anechnoic chamber, you don’t have any cues. You take away the perceptual cues that allow you to balance and man oeuvre. [sic] If you’re in there for half an hour, you have to be in a chair.
You can read more about the disorienting and disconcerting “quietest room in the world” here, but I’ve got bigger fish to fry in this post.
Too Much Noise; Too Much Tech
We’ve got way too much noise in our lives. Much of this comes from the near-saturation of our society with technology. We’ve become so addicted to these devices that 94% of those polled in the UK would rather give up sex than their mobile phone and our children need therapy to deal with iPad-withdrawal. The iPhone has only been around for six years, the iPad for only 3, and yet we’re already this addicted, this dependent on these devices? (Sorry, to the Android users who I just slighted, but I would argue that these devices marked the transition(s) that Samsung, Google et al benefitted from.)
If we’re already so hooked, I’m worried about what will become of us in the future. If we’re so afraid of silence, of not having something in our hands or in front of our eyes (Google Glass?), and it hasn’t even been a decade…where else do we have to go from here but further into this mess of electronic-addictions curtailing our ability to be physically engaged?
I understand that this room is so quiet that even an adult from twenty years ago would have had trouble staying in there for long periods of time. I really do get that, but I also really feel like we have become so addicted, so reliant on the noises and lights of our digital age that if we were to remove them we would be just as disoriented and distressed as someone stuck in the “quiet room.”
What do you think about our culture’s problem with technology? Can the effects be reversed?
[via Daily Mail]