Just a quick morning thought which I verbalised at 3pm:
I had one those nights when you wake up very early in the morning and feel wide awake. I stayed in bed and had a bit of a think. Suddenly, it occurred to me there was a tremendous amount of sounds coming from outside – I usually sleep with the window open. It was 4am and the birds were out singing and I had a smile on my face. Then slowly the sounds, although remaining at a similar volume, changed of nature. By 5am all the birds had been replaced by cars and busses and the smile on my face had vanished. I closed the windows and fell asleep again.
After a morning nap, I got up and noticed the noise was still there but louder. I got ready to go to work and hoped onto my bicycle. On one of the roads leading to my work place I crossed a fellow cyclist. He was wearing headphones and was listening to loud music. Normally, when I cross people doing so I go through an internalised ‘people’ rant: “That’s such a stupid behaviour! They can’t hear what’s going on a around them! that’s dangerous for them and for the others! and! why an earth do PEOPLE nowadays always want to live in their bubble, shutting themselves away from the rest of society! And that’s such a stupid an weird behaviour anyways! they can’t hear what the’re doin ect…”. If I had not witnessed the bird’s singing-sounds to city-noise transformation I would have probably forgotten about the rant and the cyclist only to have the same internal conversation another day. Now I think that the cyclist was just blocking off that constant background drone and I was its victim – needlessly putting me in a mildly angry mood. So I have come to the following conclusion: I-Pods and other music-playing-portable devices are the natural evolution of our response to increasingly noisy surroundings!?
Anyways, I just think we need to be a bit more aware of our sonic surroundings as they greatly influence our moods and I don’t think blocking them off are the best solution. Maybe we should reduce how much travelling we do by car? Organise our transport systems so they are not audible nearly everywhere you go? Maybe you guys have other solutions to propose??
Have look at Julian Treasure’s talks on the subject on the TED website.
Ps: You’ll notice I have added a section to thank the people supporting the project and have added a french translation to the ‘Project’ page.