The Tacoma Narrows Suspension Bridge, was built in 1940 and nicknamed the "Galloping Gurdie". Only four months after completion, a remarkable and unfortunate event took place. One ordinary afternoon as a single car innocently drove across the bridge, a still breeze of about forty miles per hour came up. As the wind blew, it triggered subtle vibrations in the bridge, which coalesced into increasingly larger vibrations, until the whole bridge started undulating like a snake. Within minutes the entire bridge had collapsed in one huge, oscillating ripple, crumbling into the waters below.
If such an enormous structure as a steel and concrete suspension bridge can be destroyed from the wind, how are we impacted by the countless vibrations we encounter daily? Our modern world bombards us with dissonance--vibrations that we tune out of our conscious mind while our body and nervous system continue to endure. The result is a series of little stresses that can add up to larger stress with the potential to break down our entire system.
What are some of these vibrations and how do they impact us?
Anyone who lives in a modern urban environment is assaulted by sound on a constant basis. Only recently in the span of human evolution are we as polluted by unwelcome sound as we are today. Two hundred years ago, in the city of Vienna, fire alarms could be given verbally by someone shouting from the top of the Cathedral. In 1964, a siren needed to be 88 decibels to be heard (1 decibel is the smallest unit heard by human ears). Today, a siren is 122 decibels, well over the threshold of pain. While we talk about air, water, and earth pollution, we pay little attention to sound pollution. Unable to close our ears, this is a pollution against which we have very little defense.
OSHA estimates that more than half of American production workers are exposed to an ongoing noise level of 80 decibels or higher, while the maximum intensity one can withstand over time without hearing loss is 75 decibels. When exposed to recorded industrial sound, rhesus monkeys had a 27% rise in blood pressure, which stayed elevated for FOUR MONTHS after the noise stopped. Children living near airports are more likely than others to have learning disabilities. Babies living in noisy homes proved slower to mature in terms of sensory and motor skills and tended to keep their infantile habits longer than babies in a quieter environment.
It is not just raw sound that bombards us, we also experience dissonance in mass communication. Hungry for truth, we find ourselves surrounded by the junk sound of advertising mantras that "pepsi" our thoughts, news broadcasts that obsess on violence and death, and sensationalist stories designed to fill the already agitated mind. Suppressing the urge to express ourselves truthfully, we restrict ourselves to accepted niceties, and speak the "real" truth only behind others' back. The Throat Chakras of men are bound by neckties, which choke their individuality, while women are just beginning to break through centuries of public silence.
Our news coverage brings us information without experience. New reporters rattle off deplorable facts with very little feeling. We hear about the destruction of the environment in terms of square miles of rain forest, inches of topsoil, numbers of disappearing species, but these statistics do not tell us what it is like to stand in a rain forest and hear the trees fall, or to watch the death of a lifeform that will never exist again.. We read about calamities in foreign countries in terms of so many dead, so many injured, and so many dollars worth of damage. We coldly take in data without having the time or the context in which to really feel its impact... We are receiving disembodied communication.
Meanwhile, mass communication is proliferating. Modern communication technologies give us faster access to more information than ever before. Movies, videos, radio, books, magazines, newspapers, the internet, cell phones, bumper stickers, and even T-shirts-- the cultural fifth chakra is an omnipresent field, influencing our consciousness at each and every moment. How can we hear our own unique vibration in a world deafened by the roars of civilization? How can we express our truth when it goes against the accepted conformity of polite conversation? In the subtle realm of the fifth chakra, how can we find the quiet necessary to listen to the truth within?
These are the issues to explore in the fifth chakra. Communication binds culture together as the primary means for sharing information, values, relationships and behavior. Through communication, we shape our future.
All sounds known through the Sanskrit alphabet are identified as the vocables sprung from the cosmic drum of Shiva, i.e., of creation itself. Sound is the paradigm of creation, and its dissolution is reabsorption into its source. - Ajit Mookerjee