The Financial Times published an excerpt from ‘Silence, In the Age of Noise’ by Erling Kagge, and translated by Becky L Crook (Viking):
Antarctica is the quietest place I’ve ever been. I walked alone to the South Pole, and in that vast monotone landscape there was no human noise apart from the sounds I made. Alone on the ice, far into that great white nothingness, I could both hear and feel the silence. (I had been forced by the company who owned the aeroplane that flew me to the northern edge of Antarctica to bring a radio. The last thing I did in the aeroplane was to leave the batteries in the garbage bin.)
Everything seemed completely flat and white, kilometre after kilometre all the way to the horizon, as I headed southward across the world’s coldest continent. Underneath lies 30m cubic kilometres of ice, pressing down on the Earth’s surface.
British polar explorer Sara Wheeler reviews Erling Kagge’s latest book, ‘Silence, In the Age of Noise‘.
Kagge is the Norwegian explorer who some 50 years ago walked solo across the Antarctica, making him the first person to walk alone to the South Pole.
Wheeler, writing in the Wall Street Journal:
Twenty-five years ago, the Norwegian adventurer Erling Kagge trekked solo across Antarctica without a radio (actually, the aviation company that flew him to the coast insisted that he take one, and he did—but he dumped the batteries in the plane’s trash bin). The experience of being alone for 50 days inspired this book: a meditation on the need for, and meaning of, silence.
As the subtitle (“In the Age of Noise”) indicates, the notion of cultivating silence is mightily unfashionable as well as hard to achieve. Mr. Kagge began by asking himself the questions: “What is silence? Where is it? Why is it more important now than ever?” He reckons that he came up with 33 “attempts at answering them.”