What Was That?!


Every once in a while I am caught by the misuse of noise in our midst: everything that might be an inconvenience, a potential danger, something to watch out for, seems to have a distinctive noise deliberately attached to it.  What we hear is the noise, not the danger.  I suppose that, in the long run, this is a good thing in that it avoids accidents.
But it also dulls our receptiveness to real sound.
The car backs up: It generates a beeping that is like every other danger-beeping.   It does not encourage us to pay attention, but rather the opposite.  It happened to me just the other day.   (In fact as I write this a most annoying beeping is wreaking its auditory havoc on an otherwise gorgeous morning.) 
It is the automatic quality that disturbs me.  Generating the noise automatically makes the hearing automatic, also; and by extension, the hearer.


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