This week we have our first “return” guest, as Patrick Shen joins us again to discuss the new book he co-wrote and co-edited with Cassidy Hall, Notes on Silence. Describing the book as an “entry point” into silence, Patrick and Cassidy share with Kevin and Carl how the book functions as a companion to their documentary film In Pursuit of Silence — and how it is simply a work of art in its own right.
Silence is always over-stated — and under-said. — Cassidy Hall
Notes on Silence features a selection of essays by both authors exploring silence, and their relationship to silence, from a variety of angles. The book also includes transcripts of interviews from a variety of persons who are featured in the film: theologians, psychologists, artists, educators, and others who have many interesting things to say about silence and the noise in our contemporary habitat. Since only a portion of each interview could be included in the film, these transcripts provide a wealth of information for anyone who wants to go deeper in his or her pursuit of silence.
A monk from New Mellerey Abbey, Father Alberic, said to me, ‘Silence is a place of infinite possibility.’ Silence is also a place of infinite language, because there is no proper language — there is no official way to box it in.” — Cassidy Hall
Notes on Silence also contains a generous selection of beautiful (and deeply contemplative photos) taken by both Cassidy and Patrick. As each of them shares thoughts on one of their favorite photos in the book, they give insight into how image as well as words can testify to the beauty of silence, and of our capacity for wonder at, and in, silence.
Alas, we cannot know for certain, the cosmos demands that we surrender to its majesty, and we must take our seat at the feet of doubt. — Patrick Shen
Some of the resources and authors mentioned in this episode:
- Cassidy Hall and Patrick Shen, Notes on Silence
- Patrick Shen (director), In Pursuit of Silence
- Jonatha Brooks, 10¢ Wings (includes the song “Landmine,” quoted in this episode)
- Richard Rohr, Essential Teachings on Love
- The Desert Fathers and Mothers, Early Christian Wisdom Sayings
- Laurie Anderson, Big Science (includes the song “From the Air,” quoted in this episode)
Absolute silence would be a state of lifelessness. Our relationship with silence is always filtered through sound in some way, shape or form. — Carl McColman
Episode 17: Notes on Silence
Hosted by: Kevin Johnson
With: Cassidy Hall, Carl McColman
Guest: Patrick Shen
Date Recorded: March 29, 2018