1 It is as though the last residuum of silence were to be destroyed; as though an order had been made for a census of the residue of silence in every person and in every house, and for that residue to be exterminated, as an enemy. Airplanes scour the sky for the silence encamped behind the clouds. The propeller beats are like so many blows against the silence. The great cities are like enormous reservoirs of noise. Noise is manufactured in the city, just as goods are manufactured. The city is the place where it is always kept in stock, completely detached from the object from which it came. It broods over the city and falls down on men and things. But in the night, when the lights are out, the streets seem like shafts down which the noise has fallen and in which it has disappeared. Men and things doze wearily, as they are no longer filled with the noise. People roam along by the houses like shadows, and the walls of the houses seem like the front walls of enormous dilapidated and disintegrated tombs. In sleep, however, with their ears on the pillow, men seem to be listening to the depths of the earth, to the van- ished noise or perhaps to the vanished silence. The great city is a fortress against the silence, around which destruction hovers in its feverish activity. There is a striving towards destruction, a search for death, a search for the silence after death. Silence no longer exists as a world, but only in fragments, as the remains of a world. And as man is always frightened by remains, so he is frightened by the remains of silence. Sometimes in a city a man suddenly collapses and dies in the midst of the noise of the highway. It is then as if all at once the shreds of silence, still lying around, amongst the tree tops by the roadside, suddenly descend on the dead man. It is as if these remains of silence had crept down to the silence of the dead man in the roadway, and there is a momentary stillness in the city. The remains of silence are with the fallen man in order to disappear with him into death, to disappear through the fissure of death. The dead man takes the last remains of silence with him. 2 Silence is no longer taken for granted. When it is still sometimes found in a person, it seems like a museum piece or a phantom. Christine B. was perfect when she sat in silence; every- thing was then right about her. She was like a peasant woman running a big farm simply by being there herself. When Christine B. sat there saying nothing, one knew the words that were coming out unheard from the silence. One hearkened for those words, one was with Christine B., and at the same time in the distant place where those words coming from the silence seemed to become sound. One was, through the magic of this silence, here and at the same time in a distant place. But as soon as Christine B. spoke, her words were noisy, and she, too, the whole woman, was noisy. It was as though she did not possess the silence that was in her at all. She moved about so nervously, as though it was not merely not in her but as though there were no silence left anywhere. Christine certainly still had silence within her, but it was utterly isolated from her, shut off from the word, and there- fore shut off from the person. The words were living a life of their own, and the silence was a living life of its own: it was lonely. Words and silence were so isolated from one another in her that it seemed as if when she spoke, only words were present in her, and when she was silent only silence. In the silence Christine was cut off from her own words, and so utterly permeated by the silence that it seemed as if she were demonically possessed by the last remains of silence in the world. She sat there like a ghost of silence within the noise of others. 3 It is true that in the world of noise there are still words that come from the world of silence, but they are lonely in the world of noise, and the silence that is round the edge of such words is shot through with melancholy. The words seem to come from the dark ground of melancholy, not from the darkness of silence. Like the black-edged butterfly, the Camberwell Beauty, such lonely words hover around in the world of noise. It is true that in the world of noise there are still words that come from the world of silence, but like ancient treasures excavated from the earth they belong to a different world. The men of noise are frightened for a moment when they hear such authentic words, and this moment of fright is also a moment of silence—until the massive steam roller of noise arrives to level down the word and the silence, to take them with it and destroy them. Such words, which retain an authentic relationship to silence in the midst of the noise—it is as if the god himself were to step forth from the white marble of an excavated statue. For a moment men, cars, and planes would stand still; the sudden appearance of the god would be like a halt-sign to everything on the move. But in the very next moment a car would come along and carry the god away and disappear with him in the noisy traffic that would have already started up again, and the god would become a mere tiny part of the noisy, moving traffic. It is true that silence, as a world of its own, has been destroyed; sound has occupied everything; the earth seems to belong to it. There is no world unity of the spirit or of religion or politics. But there is a world unity of noise. In it all men and all things are connected one with another. But these still remain: the quietness of dawn, and the furtive fall of night. Never was the silence of these things more perfect than now; never was it more beautiful. The silence of these things is lonely: the power of silence, which once went out from them to the other things of earth and to men, is now confined to itself. Things are silent for themselves. One poor man once said to another: "Nobody gives me his respects, so I give myself my own respects, on my own." So are these things: no one gives them silence, no one takes it from them. They give it to themselves and have it for themselves alone.