Silence can be defined as the absence of noise; but authentic silence is deafness.
True deafness in turn does not lie in the inability to hear noises, but in the inability to understand meanings .
The process by which noises become meanings, that is, the history of thought , must deal with this stubborn deafness.
It is largely an organic deafness in a certain context, in the sense that it concerns man in the context of a society; we could also call it social deafness .
The enormous development of communication in the present day has proved completely ineffective in this respect: it has magnified the noise, but has not improved listening and understanding. The world, which today is usually identified with the world of communication , is actually the world of noise .
This seems to be the real condemnation: absence of real communication, noise barrier, defeat of intelligence, mortification of the individual.
Nothing to do with silence – simple lack of sounds, which indeed represents an ideal terrain for the emergence of meanings.
In truth, authentic communication, when it is realized, gives a real depth to the contents, which are organized in structure; the noise instead absorbs everything. The dimension of noise is actuality , that of communication is history .
This idea of the structural depth of communication proves to be basic.
Communication is truly such only when it establishes a relationship between distinct and separate areas: over time, space, experience, level or type of knowledge, etc.
Within the same sphere, communication is scarce or non-existent.
It lives, so to speak, on the margins, on the borders, borderline, its original divinity is Ianus, one face turned inwards and one turned outwards.
It is here that that intellectual function is manifested, which by combining different areas, and consequently relativizing knowledge, inserts them into a structural dynamic.
The noise instead typically “hangs over”, wrapping everything in an undifferentiated way.
If we basically acquire the concept of noise as a generic form of communication lacking in thickness, we must in fact include a large number of manifestations and events which appear absolutely dominant in today’s society.
Indeed, it can be said that any attempt to trigger communication circuits that pierce the noise clashes with unsurpassed difficulties, and still faces a difficult coexistence with the background noise.
Once the press played a role, so to speak, in the language of the learned; today there is no longer a medium that has this function, as each medium is shared, and therefore follows a mass dynamic, largely independent of individuals.
Consequently, converging waves of interest appear on specific themes, such as to make them quickly essential, necessary and unique.
In this way paradigms are affirming and spreading which at their appearance could only arouse incredulity, so much they seemed trivial and inconsistent.
Their specific territory is emotionality . Not because in structured communication the emotion is absent, far from it; but it intervenes, so to speak, in the second instance, presupposing understanding in any case.
In that communication without depth, which we have called noise, on the other hand, the emotion completely exhausts the communicative space; it does not need mediation, it self-justifies itself.
But in this context, as mentioned above, the mortification of the individual as such, his exit from the scene, his silence, in perspective his end, takes shape. He becomes a voice that matters only when he joins the chorus and identifies himself with it.
His eventual valiant and potentially disruptive stances will flow away like water on the skin, or at the most will be interpreted as interesting digressions; unless you accidentally run into something that was already maturing to explode, in which case he will be a genius.
I spoke earlier of mass dynamics ; I correct myself. The concept of mass is static, typically nineteenth-twentieth century, functional to the idea of class struggle. Today we must more correctly speak of dynamics of complex systems . It is the development of communication that has made the system complex.
And it consequently made it largely independent of the action of individuals. It is enough to observe the phenomenon in politics, as in the world there is no longer the shadow of all those characters who, until not long ago, for better or for worse, made history. There was hardly a country, however small, in which charismatic and decisive figures did not emerge to personify power; and on the contrary, there is no country today, however large and important, to fully recognize itself in any of these figures.
The dynamics of complex systems is in fact such as to be configured in an absolutely spontaneous and autonomous way; as well as unpredictable and unprogrammable: a special creativity of communication, or, better, a creativity of noise .
The overwhelming power connected to the world of communication, and to those who gravitate around it, is therefore not so much in economic counterparts, as in the fact that it directly and completely reflects the configurations of the system.
The progressive interconnection of the information flows makes it impossible to check them beforehand.
Under these conditions, supposing that politics retains the resolving capacities of the past is illusory. It is faced with scenarios and systems that are objectively more open and available to global involvement. In such conditions it can only “queue” or try to interpret movements and situations, which arise in an unpredictable and unexpected way.
In other words, it seems destined to follow events rather than determine them, succeeding when it can and in the best of cases to catch the right signals at the right time and read behind appearances; avoiding any temptation to refer to axiomatic and pre-established judgment schemes. Above all, trying to keep close to the privileged nodes of communication, not so much and not only with the aim of managing it, but rather to be legitimized.