Released in 1964, Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence” is one of the most culturally important songs to emerge out of the 20th century. It’s Paul Simon lamenting his fellow man’s inability to communicate on an emotional level, fostering a generation that doesn’t know how to love, and came hot on the heels of both the Civil Rights Movement and the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The simplicity of “The Sound of Silence” – just the voices of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel with Paul’s acoustic guitar accompanying them – is what makes this classic so incredibly powerful, standing the test of time nearly half a century after its release.
Only the most callous person can fail to be moved by the song’s simple truth. We all need each other … well, if we were really honest with ourselves, we would admit that. The waters are troubled these days. The information age has covered us with things that can give us sleepless nights. The one thing the information age has not given us is “true connectedness” … we are more disconnected emotionally than ever before … distracted by the sense that we are somehow connected digitally.
As someone on Facebook posted the final performance of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by these two iconic professionals, it struck me how prophetic the lyrics were.
Please enjoy this final performance: Click Here
I was attending Rennselaer when they performed on campus. I can still remember how powerful their music was. However, I must admit today that I didn’t realize how accurate their poetry was. They were, and still are, modern day prophets. Their lyrics could be some of the best reflection of the New Testament story for today.
The short segment below is from “The Sound of Silence.” While each and every word is profound, it struck me that this short passage says it all about where we are:
“And in the naked light I saw, ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking, people hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never shared, and no one dared
To stir the sound of silence”
We should all just take a deep breath and ponder this just a bit more deeply. It is time to build those bridges … no … it is long overdue that we all work harder at building bridges. There is plenty of troubled water. There is much to do.