We live in an age of noise. Not just audible noise, but visual noise. It seems like you can’t go anywhere these days without something or someone vying for your attention. My guest today thinks all this noise has made us a bit crazy, and that we need to re-capture the power of silence in our lives. He came to this realization while traveling alone, by foot, for fifty days to the South Pole. Since having that experience of what he initially found to be a disturbing level of silence, he thinks other people need more space for quietude in their lives.
His name is Erling Kagge. He’s an adventurer, philosopher, and the author of the book Silence: In the Age of Noise. Today on the show Erling shares his adventures of being the first person to walk to the North Pole, the South Pole, and Mount Everest alone and why he thinks adventure is within reach of anyone who desires it. We also discuss why creating intentional friction and discomfort is a necessity in our modern world. We then shift gears to discussing the exploration of a different kind of terrain: that of silence. Erling shares what experiencing the silence of being alone in the South Pole is like, what philosophers have said about silence, why people should embrace the challenge of seeking silence, and how to find it even in our noisy modern world.
- How and why Erling became an explorer
- How Erling balanced exploring with his workaday life (including being a parent and lawyer)
- What led him to study philosophy at Cambridge?
- Why Erling argues that we should make life more difficult
- The two forms of boredom
- What is silence? Is it simply the absence of sound?
- What does philosophy have to say about the idea of silence?
- What it was like to be alone at the South Pole for 50 days
- How words themselves limit our experiences
- Why Erling didn’t feel the need to curse while alone at the pole
- What is it about silence that makes us uncomfortable?
- What art can teach us about silence?
- How can regular people find their own South Pole and experience silence?
Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast
- Three Poles Challenge
- My podcast with adventurer Laval St. Germain
- My podcast with adventurer Alastair Humphreys
- My 8-Week Microadventure Challenge
- A Call for a New Strenuous Age
- 5 Habits for a Better Relationship With Your Smartphone
- The Spiritual Disciplines: Silence and Solitude
- Lessons on Solitude From Admiral Richard Byrd
- People would rather shock themselves than be alone with their thoughts
- The Suicide of Cato the Younger
- The Virtuous Life: Silence
- The Addictive Nature of Modern Tech
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