Odds are you’ve got on your person some kind of electronic noise-making device, be that noise Gaga, the BBC or some kind of atmospheric airport ambience by Brian Eno. Indeed, you’re browsing the internet on one such device right now.

In contrast to the Walkman, Discman or indeed a stereo on the shoulder, the computer I type on holds 16.4 days of podcasts, music and yes, Brian Eno. A fair chunk of that fits on the phone my pocket – 16.4 days of news and political commentary, beats for self-esteem boosting, others for emo-inducing and ambiences for when I want to feel like I’m in an airport.

The point of this post isn’t to marvel at gigabytes and hard drives, but rather to query if this is slowly driving me insane. Am I turning into Nyan Cat?


Is the constant availability of so much noise a good thing?

I’m always listening to something. The kind of admin work involved in running UN Youth New Zealand lent itself very well to background music. I typically study to music. Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report is set to automatically download for the walk to class. Ditto Checkpoint for the walk home. I’ve got playlists for the gym, for long-haul flights and for napping on cold winter afternoons. Recently, I created a playlist for “thinking”. Indeed, that suggests a problem.

Am I scared of silence? Or even of my own company?

What would I think about while wandering between class or waiting in a queue, were it not for the noise in my pocket? Does this constant stimulation prevent my brain from debriefing itself? From preparing its next moves? Or, is music no less detrimental to one’s psyche than the background noise encountered in everyday living? It is possible, of course, to think too much (this blog could be a case in point) – in which music may hold my mind at bay where it would otherwise get carried away.

There’s sure to be some YouTube lecture or Psych textbook on this question. I thought I’d seek therapy from you UN Youthers, however – I suspect I don’t suffer this addiction alone. Do you find that you are constantly immersing (read: bombarding) yourself with noise to fill the gaps, to fill the down time?  Does that ever concern you?


Oh, and here’s Ambient 1 from Brian Eno’s Music for Airports:

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