Quiet-List 1997

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Noise, Nature, Politics, & Psychiatry

In a message dated 97-12-16 11:24:14 EST, Miranda writes:

>Those poeple go absolutely 'nuts' from 'normal'
>sounds. They become very agitated and feel unable 
>to do anything as long as they hear the sound.

  Yes, but who has the power to define what is "normal"
  and what isn't?   This question can become politicized
  very quickly.   

  I am aggravated by loud stereos in public places, nuisance
  barking dogs, loud mufflers, faulty home & auto alarm systems,
  and boom cars.  Am I abnormal?  Will my condition soon be
  written up and listed in the Diagnostic Manual of the American
  Psychiatric Association?  I shudder at the thought.

  My personal hypothesis about noise-sensitivity is that it is
  age-related -- not because we necessarily become more
  sensitive as we become older -- but because we older folks
  (I'm 50) were brought up in quieter times before the proliferation
  of so many noise-making gadgets.  Because of our habituation,
  our tolerance level for noise was set much lower.   Additionally,
  I will admit that we have also had a longer time in which to
  accumulate experiences of noise abuse, and the aggregate 
  impact over time of such abuse might also make us more
  If we are to win a struggle for right-to-quiet, we are going to
  have to become political.  We should also recognize the
  political nature of psychiatric labelling, and use it to our
  advantage.   The APA should be encouraged to recognize
  noise addiction -- a syndrome which generally afflicts younger
  people brought up in the age of continuing stimulus from
  stereos and TVs -- and it should be included in their Diagnostic
  Classification Manual.   Treatment regimens need to be 
  established to normalize the noise-addicted and train them
  to appreciate the value of quiet.  

  We must look to nature for the final gold standard for justifying
  my position.   We humans have more than a million years of
  evolution behind us in which we became adapted to a natural
  environment which was far more quiet than the noisy world
  created with man-made devices proliferated within the last few
  decades.   What is NATURAL is what is normal.   Quiet is
  natural.  Excessive man-made noise subverts nature and 
  damages humans.

    -- Michael Wright   <--- normal person, not noise-addicted,
                                      is impressed by the awesome roar of 
                                      Niagara Falls but hates boom cars

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