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Sound + Dystopia - Pratyay Raha

How do we find silence in an urban atmosphere which is filled with sounds generated by anthropogenic activities? How do we question our own actions which have pushed us to a point where every space seems to be dead end? What is the relationship between individual and collective actions that has led us to this position of uncertainty and chaos?

Thinking of an instance from my daily life, there is a construction process going on just adjacent to my room window in Kolkata (India). The morning starts with sharp and shrill high frequency drilling, welding and cutting sounds. In the beginning I used to get perturbed with such a high decibel of sound generation in the morning. Now I am used to it. It is a slow psychoacoustic process which makes our hearing tuned to whatever is happening in the outside world. Now, the question is the first thought in my mind is my own discomfort, but can we ever imagine the interference and prolonged impact it causes on the communication system of other living beings which are in co-existence with us?

Our bodies are in stress too due to the excess presence of high decibel sounds in the city. it takes time to get tuned. May be the generation born hundred years from now will evolve to have band pass filters to discriminate and remove frequencies and loud sounds as per choice. The same reason applies to the discomfort that we feel when we come back from the peaceful mountain life to the sound filled city life. Our body gets tuned to the serenity and peace of the mountains and then encounters a sudden jerk when it returns to the urban atmosphere. But at the end of the day, the responsibility of this time period of anthropocene is on us, the human race.

Timothy Morton in his book 'Dark Ecology' says, "The darkness of ecological awareness is the darkness of noir, which is a strange loop: the detective is a criminal. In a strong version of noir the narrator is implicated in the story: two levels that normally don’t cross, that some believe structurally can’t cross. We “civilized” people, we Mesopotamians, are the narrators of our destiny. Ecological awareness is that moment at which these narrators find out that they are the tragic criminal."

It is high time we debate this age of the anthropocene which as per studies might lead to the sixth mass extinction. Hope to discuss more on this in the following writings. Till then, stay well and think critically about the health of our planet.

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