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Helmikuun 27. päivänä 1815 Notre-Dame de la Garden tähystäjä antoi merkin, että satamaan oli tulossa kolmimasto Pharaon paluumatkallaan Smyrnasta, Triestistä ja Napolista.Tavalliseen tapaan läksi heti luotsi satamasta, pujahti Ifin linnan ohi ja nousi laivaan Morgionin niemen ja Rionin…
Foy begins his quest by carrying a pocket-sized decibel meter to measure sound levels in the areas he frequents most—the subway, the local café, different rooms of his apartment—as well as the places he visits that inform his search, including the Parisian catacombs, Joseph Pulitzer’s “silent vault,” the snowy expanses of the Berkshires, and a giant nickel mine in Canada, where he travels more than a mile underground to escape all human-made sound. Along the way, Foy experiments with noise-canceling headphones, floatation tanks, and silent meditation before he finally tackles a Minnesota laboratory’s anechoic chamber that the Guinness Book of World Records calls “the quietest place on earth,” and where no one has ever endured even forty-five minutes alone in its pitch-black interior before finding the silence intolerable.
Drawing on history, science, journalistic reportage, philosophy, religion, and personal memory, as well as conversations with experts in various fields whom he meets during his odyssey, Foy finds answers to his questions: How does one define silence? Did human beings ever experience silence in their early history? What is the relationship between noise and space? What are the implications of silence and our need for it—physically, mentally, emotionally, politically? Does absolute silence
actually exist? If so, do we really want to hear it? And if we do hear it, what does it mean to us?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 30 million Americans suffer from environment-related deafness in today’s digital age of pervasive sound andsensory overload. Roughly the same number suffer from tinnitus, a condition, also environmentally related, thatmakes silence impossible in even the quietest places. In this respect, Foy’s quest for silence represents more thana simple psychological inquiry; both his queries and hisfindings help to answer the question “How can we livesaner, healthier lives today?”
Innovative, perceptive, and delightfully written, Zero Decibels will surely change how we perceive and appreciate the soundscape of our lives.