On Friday I was silent the entire day. I didn't speak for 24 hours.
My original intent was to protest the mistreatment of homosexual and transgender teenagers. It was successful. It brought the matter to quite a few people's attention.
A friend and I decided to keep going without talking for 24 hours, even when we were out of public and any possibility of having an impact on the aforementioned issue. It became a personal experiment. I had willfully become mute, and I wanted to see what it was like to live as if I were mute for one day.
It was certainly enlightening.
It isn't just that it is difficult to communicate without speech. That is a given. Truly knowing the extent, however, is less easy to assume. By revoking the act of speech - something so integral to human-to-human communication - you become trapped, shut off, and locked inside your own head, just a spectator of the outside world. The actor reverts to being a mere audience member. Other modes of communication are too innefficient to offer any real benefit, and you are at a severe disadvantage. You cannot mutter even a few words to yourself in a moment on stress! Willingly holding something so dear (and so taken for granted) away, you essentially find yourself enduring a trial of masochism, as well as form of self-conditioning and discipline. Don't talk! Don't even say hello. All you can do is wave; you, being merely an observer behind the window panes of the eyes, can only knock or gesture to direct people this way or that. The skull, after all, is soundproof. You can scream as much as you want within the confines of your own head, but no one will ever hear you. How appropriate an allegory for the oppressed.
Taking this idea further, I want to attempt to be blind or deaf (or both) for a whole day, sometime within the next few months. It is an analogous form of the masochistic conditioning of what I did yesterday. It is a way to learn things about yourself, how you communicate, and how you interact with the world around you. If nothing else, it certainly produces a form of empathy for people who actually are mute, deaf, and so forth.
Could you imagine never speaking? For those who came from Direct-Waves (and other big music fans) - could you imagine never hearing your favorite records again?