Quiet-List 1997

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Re: Noise, Nature, Politics, & Psychiatry

This message is a re-transmission of a previous message bounced from the
list because it contained expletives.

>  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.

>From my personal experience, I'd have to disagree with this. Aside from the
boom car phenomenon, most of the noise troublemakers in my personal
experience have been in their late 40's or above.  I am 34 years old
myself, and I have had a lot of trouble dealing with older people who
either resent being confronted by a younger man, or have that "I got mine,
screw you, Jack" attitude all too typical of a lot of older people.  In
fact, the only time I have ever experienced a peaceful resolution to a
noise dispute was with a young girl who lived next door to me, and also
with a young couple who had lived in that same apartment prior to her. In
each case, I told them there was a problem and that was the end of the
problem.  Incredible. The  occupant previous to these two tenants was an
old man who blasted his TV 24 hours a day and nastily *refused* to turn it
down or get a hearing aid.

We like to think that old people are wise, tolerant and respectful, but the
fact is that people who are $#@**&$ s in their youth usually just become
bigger, more dangerous $#@**&$ s as they grow older and gain experience in
their craft. The truth is, disrespect comes in all sizes and flavors, as
does respect.

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
>  sensitive.

I think this is true. The more I have experienced the problem, the more
pressing my need to escape it has become.

>  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.

I think this problem really revolves aroung two things: intelligence and
respect. People who are intelligent tend to think a lot more and are thus
more likely to be disturbed by noise problems and other interferences with
their thought processes. People who tend to be thoughtless probably have
less of a problem with noise, as do those who use drugs and alcohol to blot
out reality. And I think that once a person becomes aware of how
aggravating  and troublesome noise really is--and most people are--it is
simply a matter of respect whether that individual takes measures to limit
his interference with his neighbor's right to peace and quiet.

In the case of boom cars, I feel part of the attraction is the feeling of
power that comes from *knowing* you are assaulting the entire community and
*nobody* is going to stop you. Disavowing these people of that notion, and
generally humiliating them in the process, would go a long way towards
eliminating the problem.

>  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

Amen to that!

Sean Conlon

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