Cacophony of LIfe

It’s a strange little word…

CacophonyBut a descriptive word with much meaning, and I find it to be all the more true in the busy world we exist in. We make use of this word revolving around noisy places, but I have found it works on many other fronts of life.

Break the word down into other structures – Caco = Bad… Phony = Not Real… Or simply reference it like the Greek words intended it to be referenced – “Ill-Sounding”…

Back in the late 80’s and early 90’s I had several opportunities to work in New York. I remember standing along a street in Manhattan. Probably Wall Street. Morning rush was in full swing. Workers were tearing up streets and sidewalks. Much of the sidewalk was encased by metal frames reaching up the side of buildings. Wooden boardwalks covered some open construction areas, and there were no peak holes to determine what was happening on the other side. Horns from the busy street were constant as impatient drivers attempted to move to their destination. The sun was getting hot, it was summer.

I did not hear any wildlife… Just human made noise.

It was frustrating then, and frustrating to think about the discordant sounds emanating from many downtown streets of just about any city of size.

This morning I enjoyed my deck for a while. The sun was creeping over the eastern tree line. Mt Rainier was making itself visible through the morning haze. Birds were definitely awake and going about the morning routine of finding their daily catch. Off in the background a couple of lambs were making their morning noise. I hear a dog bark in the distance. My dogs are anxious to get out of the kennel and are ready to explore.

Just a few minutes more… That sun will be hot today. But right now the coolness of the night still kisses the ground. If you stand in just the right place you can feel the radiant heat of the sun and coolness of morning dampness.

Both experiences produced sound. In NY it was man made and discordant. In my back yard it was natural. NY was cacophonous. Back yard was melodious.

In my younger life I worked in a steel mill for a few months. Steel toed boats were necessary, along with eye, hand and ear protection. The heat was unbearable. Noise was strident as 36 inch diameter pipe was created and rolled around like tinker toys on a living room floor. 40 feet length of steel pipe coming your way on conveyor systems and then kicked over to your station for inspection. Some inspection was on a pneumatic cart as you rolled inside the length of the pipe looking for imperfections. Others were checking welds before and after x-ray. Still, other stations were just simply redirecting pipe from one stack to another.

Regardless, it was not my cup-of-tea!

And, in my younger life I worked in computer rooms. Cavernous places with huge cooling systems, from which I still maintain that life was meant for us to exist in cooler climates! The sounds are different, but still man-made. Clacking keyboards, pounding sounds of the printers, whirring of the tape drives, and the indescribable sounds of keypunch cards being read in and punched out. If you ever think a computer room is silent, just hang out in one as an electrical storm moves through and you lose power. All of a sudden that room is immediately dark (usually there are no windows) and totally silenced. Before you might be hard pressed to hear some heavy clang to the raised and hollowed floor, but with silence reigning you can hear a pin drop.

Definitely more in tune with what I enjoyed doing in my younger life!

We live in a time of cacophonous sounds. Even in the midst of good things, we are often overwhelmed by noise. From every corner of the globe news is dying to break out and warn the world of this disease, that war, this need, and that storm. As technology changes our world, the news of a little girl being slain just 40 miles from my house rushes around the globe on web site and every other social media system one might imagine. Planes drop bombs, terrorist fire missiles, storms hammer coast lines, traffic is snarled…

It is amazing that we can find any peace with all this racket! How do we find it?

But I say that wisdom is better than might, though the poor man’s wisdom is despised and his words are not heard. The words of the wise heard in quiet are better than the shouting of a ruler among fools. Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good. (Ecclesiastes 9:16-18 ESV)

Imagine time a few decades and centuries ago. Pony Express was the fastest way to deliver news across a span of distance, only to be cast aside when the telegraph showed up… Telephone. Television. Satellites. Mobile phones, Fax lines, Internet, Email, Smart Phones, Social Media… What’s next? Each subsequent creation slows wipes out the need for the prior. When is the last time you mailed a letter to a friend. Not a card, but a letter…. No. More than likely social media has destroyed snail mail faster than anything else. What will replace social media?

Probably just another noisy answer to an already noisy world!

Of course, you can simply bury yourself in your little corner of life and ignore all the noise, But what happens when tragedy strikes your little home?

Somehow, we must learn techniques to weed out the non-necessary from the needful thingso. Part of the problem is that the very person you are “friends” with spends an inordinate amount of time with unnecessary communication. Then, in the midst of waste they might produce a nugget of necessity.

How do you sift out the unnecessary from the needful?

I work hard on ordering and structuring my input feed. People are placed into groups or lists by some criteria that I find useful. Even with that everyone gets lumped into a bucket and there are times a necessary truth needs to rise to the surface for notice. A friend has begun using Instagram to primarily (at least since I found him on the system) educate and elucidate. This I found very important. Just like with news sources on the internet, I have found those that give me the facts as I need and want them, and turn off those that are primarily focused on fluff.

Could there be a way to raise the feed of important social media to the top of the pile so that is where my major focus is satisfied? Well, there’s one way of thinking about it! How do I find these people, and move them to the top of what I want to pay attention to the most? What is the answer?

This is the conundrum. I wish I had a good answer. Maybe someone out in this blog-o-sphere has a technique? How do we find that certain and necessary sound in the midst of cacophony?

If you do not find the answer today?

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.”
~Mary Anne Radmacher


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