This is less of a review and more my thoughts on the movie In Pursuit of Happiness and what I’ve been thinking about since watching the movie. If you haven’t watched the movie it is currently free to watch at Transcendental Media and I highly recommend it for those with an interest in a great shot film or understanding what our louder and louder world has taken away from us.
“Modern people don’t feel moved or impressed just by living”
This movie was a slow burn through so many interesting and great thoughts on the noise we are surrounded by every day and how it’s distracting us to the point of illness and constant distraction. I’ve thought a lot after this movie about the modern minimalism movement and how perhaps this is a missing understanding of it. Sure, less stuff helps you concentrate on what is important, but are we creating enough space for the quiet as well.
The movie does make some comment on the modern digital distraction, but I found it didn’t concentrate enough on it. That really leaves a space to tie so many of the things together. Modern life is a combination of excess sound, excess consumerism and excess of distraction. That said while I don’t think In Pursuit of Silence covered this enough, I feel like it was the final connection to the other topics and brings them all together.
How I’ve started bringing this into my life ties to everything in my mind. I’ve been trying to incorporate my meditation more, once again downsizing my phone usage and installed apps. What I’ve also been doing is when I do get to leave the house and either go for a run or drive to the supermarket, I try to leave the phone off and quiet including no music or radio. The quiet has taken some time to get used to, but I enjoyed just letting my mind get all my thoughts out.
Other things to think about is taking more time outside to just sit and read or listen to nature. The weather here in New England is still a bit cold, but taking a few minutes to sit outside and enjoy the sound of nothing but the birds and nature has been nice. I do wish I had a nicer hiking option in my area, but I’m doing the best with what I have.
I also spent some time checking on the resources offered by the production team behind the documentary. There are some interesting books, apps and websites to check here, although some are dated and links do not work.
So what am I working on these days now that I have watched this movie? I’m spending at least an hour a day of time spent in quiet. I know I’m getting much more than that, but accentuating the time that I’m adding like in the car, on my walks and on my run. I’m also trying hard to be more regular with my mindfulness/meditation. Lastly cutting down on noise that fills my day.
Over the years I made a cut to social media and now only use Instagram and Twitter very infrequently, but I’m still listening to music and a lot of podcasts to fill that time. Not all podcasts are bad, but everyone I add subtracts from the time to enjoy quiet and solitude. I’m going to cut down on these and look at more times to enjoy quiet.
Secondly, I’m going to start listening to more of my quiet music when I can. I enjoy a lot of folk, bluegrass and classical, but I often end up listening to rock, dance and similar at louder volumes as a distraction. There is nothing wrong with that, but especially when I am working, I prefer the ability to concentrate with softer music.
Lastly is looking at my phone and TV and how to be more conscious of the time I fill in with noise and distraction. I play video games with friends and during this time of quarantine I have no plans to limit when playing with them. That said I want to use the time to watch some other shows and movies made by the director of this documentary. I’m still thinking this one through and how it will work, mainly I will be working on limiting the time with my phone and the overwelming content both noise and written.
I would highly recommend watching this movie and the questions it raises. Do you find noise like the city, work and modern “entertainment” to be a distraction and worsening (ignoring how quiet cities are today ofcourse). Things I will be doing now are reading Silence in Schools, Notes on Silence and watching the documentary La Source.