Complete silence as perceived by the brain is a myth. Objective absence of sound may exist. But it isn’t sound as perceived by the brain but sound particles (or whatever physical components make up sound). This particular state or arrangement that creates complete silence may exist in the external world but not in the brain.

The brain almost immediately creates sound when there is none. This is tinnitus. Therefore, as perceived by the brain, sound lies in a spectrum. At the other end is loudness (the strongest sound that can be perceived) and at the other silence (the faintest). But there is always sound.

The brain may have evolved to want sound. It dislikes complete silence. Sound creates good mental health. Ambient sound from nature is good for the mind. Sound is also associated with belonging. Being with other people creates sound or noise. Silence is connected with isolation and solitude.

But if complete silence is a myth, then perhaps complete solitude is also a myth. A person is always made up of two personas or even multiple personas, and the mind is filled with contents from culture. It is difficult to find which part of us is truly alive all the time. We can pursue silence and solitude and there are times when these are truly beneficial. But tinnitus is telling me, reminding me that my truest nature is connection and interrelation. My happiness depends on harmony, on the completeness of my experience, on the integration of both aloneness and belongingness, of freedom and connection, on individuality and camaraderies.

This is what my tinnitus is telling me: Go out more into Nature. Find sounds. Be with friends more. Engage more with the outside world. Retreat from your mind and stay more in your body. Live a more integrated life.