sound.JPGI’m thinking of how sound affects introverts. Many introverts complain of noise – often in the workplace, sometimes at home. The other side of that coin is that extraverts seem to enjoy noise. You know how it is when you’re enjoying the silence and some well-meaning extravert turns on the radio.

At a meditation center, after twenty minutes of blissful meditative silence, there are always a few slightly hysterical extraverts trying to start a conversation before we even leave the room. Conversational gambits are not welcome as I try to hang on to the silence and carry it outside.

Music can be blasted at dictators to encourage their surrender and it can be sung to babies to help them sleep. The boundaries of these sounds are measured in Hz and decibels, but measuring a thing doesn’t explain it. Extraverts run to sound as if to an islet of sunlit joy, while introverts run from it as if from chaotic anarchy.

I think – and this is only a theory – that sound is an irresistible magnet to the “outer” world, which is where extraverts replenish energy and introverts spend it. Everyone needs to decide when and where to spend their energy. It might be that, for an introvert, only solitude can provide the power of choice respecting sound.