Are you listening to this music?

Among my several pet peeves is perhaps the granddaddy of them all - loud music playing everywhere, all the time, yet no one is listening.

"What music?"

If no one is listening to it, then is it even playing? This is kind of like the tree falling in a forest and no one being there to hear it. Does it still make a "thud?"

So, if no one is listening to this music that plays everywhere, all of the time, then what is its purpose? Here's my guess - the death of silence. Remember silence? That lack of any discernible, distinct sound that jars and shakes us out of our, well, peace and quiet.

Silence is not golden. Not anymore.

Now it must be filled. With bad, loud music that no one wants to hear and is so pervasive no one is hearing it.

But it does its job well. It fills the void. Poof! Gone. Silence no more.

But, so what? What's so bad about that? Silence, after all, is nothing. A void. What's wrong with filling it up? We've got something now - music. Where's the harm in that? How could we have lost something if that something is the lack of something, namely, sound. After all, what the heck is silence, anyway? (For one thing, the absence of music, I hope).

Silence is not treasured, savored or sought out. Where ever we find it, we must fill it.

Many would say that's a no-lose situation. Or is it? Are we losing anything when we fill everything with sound? I bet you can guess where I come down on this.

We lose a lot. When we lose silence, we lose ourselves. We literally "can't hear ourselves think." And that's what it seems everyone really wants. Being alone with ourselves is scary. Unpleasant memories seep into our conscious. Lingering tasks rear their ugly heads. Doubts and uncertainties roar in our minds. How to quell them? You've got it - with bad, loud, pervasive music.

Let's start a revolution (a quiet one, of course). Let's bring silence back to where it belongs. Let's demand "they" turn off the music and listen.

Listen to the silence. Listen.

It'll be scary at first. After all these years, we will notice the void and immediately rush to fill it. But if we resist, we might actually "hear ourselves think."

And who knows what that might lead to?

- Bill Barre of Hinsdale is a contributing columnist. Readers can email him at [email protected].