Edith Cowan University
Place of Publication
Perth, Western Australia
Silence may traditionally have been golden, but how is it valued today? Can it survive the impact of a technology which can, and does, bring the apparently irresistible seductions of noise to the remotest parts of the world, and which invades the most reclusive aspects of our lives? And what place has silence in a culture such as ours which classifies it as "unproductive"?
But what is silence anyway?
Professor Taylor considers two ways in which, from the Romantic period onward, silence has been conceived. One tradition equates silence with Truth itself; the other considers it the condition which enables Truth to become manifest. In contrast, today's technology brings about a devaluation of silence by making it easy to avoid. This has profound consequences for the conception of Thought which, until recently, has been characteristic of the Western intellectual tradition.
The consequences of this change, and their implications for the teaching and study of literature and for university education in general, are then considered.