Quotes About Silence

I’ve always been the king of silence. I’ve always been a minimalist comedian. I’ve taken my influence from Jack Benny, who was the king of that… I’ve always done ‘less is more.’

— Albert Brooks

Even in the most beautiful music there are some silences, which are there so we can witness the importance of silence.

— Andrea Bocelli

Applause, it’s very nice, of course. But when you’re giving, and creating, and then there is the silence of everyone sitting there, listening, waiting, that is great.

— Anna Netrebko

To see the earth as it truly is, small and blue in that eternal silence where it floats, is to see riders on the earth together, brothers on that bright loveliness in the eternal cold – brothers who know now they are truly brothers.

— Archibald MacLeish

Once you permit those who are convinced of their own superior rightness to censor and silence and suppress those who hold contrary opinions, just at that moment the citadel has been surrendered.

— Archibald MacLeish

People ask me if I have some kind of death wish, to keep saying the things I do. The answer is no: I would like to keep living. However, some things must be said, and there are times when silence becomes an accomplice to injustice.

— Ayaan Hirsi Ali

My voice went recently, never happened before, off like a tap. I had to sit in silence for nine days, chalkboard around my neck. Like an old-school mime. Like a kid in the naughty corner. Like a Victorian mute.

— Adele

I, schooled in misery, know many purifying rites, and I know where speech is proper and where silence.

— Aeschylus

The world is never quiet, even its silence eternally resounds with the same notes, in vibrations which escape our ears. As for those that we perceive, they carry sounds to us, occasionally a chord, never a melody.

— Albert Camus

After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.

— Aldous Huxley

Great is truth, but still greater, from a practical point of view, is silence about truth. By simply not mentioning certain subjects… totalitarian propagandists have influenced opinion much more effectively than they could have by the most eloquent denunciations.

— Aldous Huxley

No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow.

— Alice Walker

The denial of our duty to act in this case is a denial of our right to act and if we have no right to act, then may we well be termed the white slaves of the North, for like our brethren in bonds, we must seal our lips in silence and despair.

— Angelina Grimke

When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.

— Ansel Adams

You need not wonder at my knowing all human languages for, to tell you the truth, I also understand all the secrets of human silence.

— Apollonius of Tyana

Maybe silence is something we’re uncomfortable with as a culture, I don’t know.

— Anton Yelchin

I think to be in exile is a curse, and you need to turn it into a blessing. You’ve been thrown into exile to die, really, to silence you so that your voice cannot come home. And so my whole life has been dedicated to saying, ‘I will not be silenced.’

— Ariel Dorfman

I love ‘Breathless,’ and ‘Paris, Texas,’ and ‘Badlands.’ I was obsessed with those films in my teens. I remember watching ‘Badlands’ and being amazed that there were these scenes in which nobody said anything and the silence told the whole story.

— Agyness Deyn

I’m very interested in silence. And, more importantly, in what happens when people aren’t talking on stage. I’m interested in letting actors play and do things between the lines. And in slowing everything down.

— Annie Baker

When I talked to my medical friends about the strange silence on this subject in American medical magazines and textbooks, I gained the impression that here was a subject tainted with Socialism or with feminine sentimentality for the poor.

— Alice Hamilton

At home, I love reaching out into that absolute silence, when you can hear the owl or the wind.

— Amanda Harlech

I’ve held my silence when I probably shouldn’t have. But I was in the minority, a woman writing SF, and I was afraid of career backlash. I was afraid of being excluded or losing opportunities if I didn’t play nice.

— Ann Aguirre

In these days of our new materialistic Irish state, poetry will have a harder, less picturesque task. But the loss of Yeats and all that boundless activity, in a country where the mind is feared and avoided, leaves a silence which it is painful to contemplate.

— Austin Clarke

Independent media can go to where the silence is and break the sound barrier, doing what the corporate networks refuse to do.

— Amy Goodman

One of the greatest sounds of them all – and to me it is a sound – is utter, complete silence.

— Andre Kostelanetz

There are a group of people who would like to silence everybody and have everybody go along to get along, but that’s not going to be very helpful for us in the long run, in terms of solving our problems. And somebody has to be courageous enough to actually stand up to, you know, the bullies.

— Ben Carson

As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence.

— Benjamin Franklin

I learned snails don’t have ears. They live in silence. They go slowly. Slowly, slowly in silence.

— Billy Collins

Jack Benny was, without a doubt, the bravest comedian I have ever seen work. He wasn’t afraid of silence. He would take as long as it took to tell the story.

— Bob Newhart

Silence may be golden, but can you think of a better way to entertain someone than to listen to him?

— Brigham Young

When you’re comfortable with someone you love, the silence is the best. And, that’s how me and J. are. When we’re in a room together, we don’t have to say anything. It’s for real.

— Britney Spears

I had absolute freedom to create things on my own and in silence. No rush, the artificial rush by media. Certainly no rush to grow up. We had plenty of boyhood, plenty of girlhood.

— Barry Hannah

I think the cinema you like has more to do with silence, and the theater you like has more to do with language.

— Ben Kingsley

In the right circumstances, I’m a big fan of eating alone. Often, on a Sunday evening, I go to a yoga class whose charm is largely that it gives me an alibi to avoid cooking family supper for once. I return to have boiled eggs and soldiers in silence with a book. Bliss.

— Bee Wilson

Did Anthony Hopkins really have to be a serial killer to be in ‘Silence of the Lambs?,’ I don’t think so, no. It’s called acting, people.

— Bryan Batt

You can never get silence anywhere nowadays, have you noticed?

— Bryan Ferry

In Kazahkstan, you would drive five hours outside the city to where roads sort of stop being roads, and it was just in the mountains and deathly quiet. And you could only really hear the clumping of the horses, and it was a sort of a beautiful silence. Like it enveloped you.

— Benedict Wong

I’m going to get a pair of wire-snips, and I’ve also started a new campaign to have blank CDs on jukeboxes so you can play the silence.

— Billy Childish

I got quite bored, serving in the bar. Since I was there, the customers wouldn’t talk about women, and with half their subject matter denied them, it was: horses, silence horses, silence.

— Bernadette Devlin

Silence is not only golden, it is seldom misquoted.

— Bob Monkhouse

I think one of the things that was a huge surprise to everyone with ‘Silence of the Lambs’ was that that was an Oscar-winning horror movie. It struck such a nerve with audiences that it was a very particular, special experience.

— Bryan Fuller

Some people can’t stand being alone. I love solitude and silence. But when I come out of it, I’m a regular talking machine. It’s all or nothing for me.

— Celine Dion

I couldn’t imagine a day without music. It relaxes and stimulates me in equal measure and I hate the sound of silence – the concept, I mean, not the track by Simon and Garfunkel.

— Charles Kennedy

The human heart has hidden treasures, In secret kept, in silence sealed The thoughts, the hopes, the dreams, the pleasures, Whose charms were broken if revealed.

— Charlotte Bronte

Comedy club audiences pay up to $25 per person and another fistful of cash to cover a two-drink minimum, so when they don’t like something, they let you know – with silence.

— Chris Hardwick

To be honest, I hate silence.

— Chuck Palahniuk

I write best late at night, when everyone in the house has gone to bed. There’s something magical about that late night silence that appeals to me.

— Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

With Citizens United, the Supreme Court’s declaration that corporations are people, the whims of one can silence the voices of millions.

— Christine Pelosi

Ever since I came to Congress in 1992, there are those who have been trying to silence my voice. I’ve been told to ‘sit down and shut up’ over and over again. Well, I won’t sit down and I won’t shut up until the full and unvarnished truth is placed before the American people.

— Cynthia McKinney

People love talking about writers as storytellers, but I hate being called that: it suggests I got it from my grandmother or something, when my writing really comes out of silence. If a storyteller came up to me, I’d run away.

— Colm Toibin

Decide where and when you want to write. I like space, and silence is an inspiration to me.

— Cecelia Ahern

People are dying to tell you their secrets it’s just a matter of getting the conversation going in the right direction. If you just let people fill the silence, they will let you the most extraordinary things. I sometimes wonder if afterward they remember what they’ve said.

— Charles McCarry

Bigotry and intolerance, silenced by argument, endeavors to silence by persecution, in old days by fire and sword, in modern days by the tongue.

— Charles Simmons

I don’t like to read contemporary fiction while writing – I need a sense of isolation, a kind of silence, and I don’t want a jumble of other people’s voices or visions getting in my way. Nineteenth-century voices don’t create static in that silence.

— Cynthia Ozick

I know you are going to be embarrassed. We’re all embarrassed by it, but to hide the embarrassment… silence has never protected women or helped them. We need to talk about it more with our, you know – whoever – our friends, our family.

— Cybill Shepherd

I do sing a bit, a solo called ‘Rubies,’ and the female vocals on ‘In Paradisum,’ ‘The Sound of Silence,’ and ‘Sapphire Clouds’.

— Catherine Asaro

When political leaders fail to denounce anti-Semitic violence and slurs, the void is not only demoralizing to the victims, but silence actually enables the wrongdoing. Silence by elected officials in particular conveys approval – or at least acquiescence – and can contribute to a climate of fear and a sense of vulnerability.

— Chris Smith

There are many types of silence. There is a silence before the note, there is a silence at the end and there is a silence in the middle.

— Daniel Barenboim

In the beginning, there was silence. And out of the silence came the sound. The sound is not here.

— Daniel Barenboim

We need a certain amount of energy to produce the sound. But then to sustain it, we have to give more energy, or otherwise, it goes and it dies in silence. And therefore, sound is absolutely, inextricably connected to time, the length of time.

— Daniel Barenboim

I’m familiar with that feeling of silence that comes with a very imminent catastrophe, when you know you have absolutely no control over a situation.

— Dave Matthews

Confession is always weakness. The grave soul keeps its own secrets, and takes its own punishment in silence.

— Dorothy Dix

I’ve got a quiet voice. I think it’s because as a child I didn’t speak very much. I used to put my fingers in my ears to feel the silence, which was like a lovely trickling motion in my head.

— Daniel Tammet

Certain songs like ‘Enjoy the Silence’ – to me, it always fits anywhere. There’s something about that song that’s really timeless, and I never get bored or feel like I have to muster something up.

— Dave Gahan

Silence, exile, cunning and so on… it’s my nature to keep quiet about most things. Even the ideas in my work.

— Don DeLillo

I like to sit in my backyard. I go out on the hammock and sit in silence and kind of meditate. Nature is calming, and it’s nice to go out there and clear my head.

— Devon Werkheiser

People are never quiet. It’s go, go, go. I’m a go-getter, but you need rest and silence, just to sit around and think about things.

— Dana Hill

Silence, you know, is the best place to get close to spirit for me.

— Dan Pallotta

For those of us who aren’t great with people, we figure that silence is always the safest bet. If you’re an introvert, you spend so much of your time wishing that other people would just shut the hell up that you figure you’re doing everyone a favor.

— David Wong

After The Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal, the audience would like to know where, when, and who arrests Hannibal Lecter for the first time. This is the story of Red Dragon.

— Dino De Laurentiis

It’s a difficult competition against silence, because silence is a perfect language, the only language which says with no words.

— Eduardo Galeano

If at noon you sit down and there’s just silence or blank tape, in an hour if you have a song, that didn’t exist an hour ago. Now it exists and it might exist for a long time. There’s something empowering about that.

— Eddie Vedder

I was very, very religious. And of course I wrote about it in ‘Night.’ I questioned God’s silence. So I questioned. I don’t have an answer for that. Does it mean that I stopped having faith? No. I have faith, but I question it.

— Elie Wiesel

We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.

— Elie Wiesel

Language failed me very often, but then, the substitute for me was silence, but not violence.

— Elie Wiesel

If I could I would always work in silence and obscurity, and let my efforts be known by their results.

— Emily Bronte

To sin by silence, when we should protest, Makes cowards out of men.

— Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Keep silence for the most part, and speak only when you must, and then briefly.

— Epictetus

Sometimes I wish that applause would come just a bit later, when it is so beautifully hushed that I feel like holding my breath in the silence of the end.

— Emanuel Ax

From the right, you get demagogues shouting about brown-skinned anchor babies and clamoring to deport the undocumented. From the left, you get advocacy for the oppressed but otherwise, when it comes to national civic identity, mainly silence.

— Eric Liu

Romance is a bird that will not sing in every bush, and love-affairs, however devoted the sentiments that inspire them, are often so business-like in the prudence with which they are conducted, that romance is reduced to a mere croaking or a disgusted silence.

— E. F. Benson

My personal hobbies are reading, listening to music, and silence.

— Edith Sitwell

I think so, Silence of the Lambs was a great, suspenseful thriller and I would expect Red Dragon to be similar. And I think it’s very character driven.

— Emily Watson

Books are such quiet things – created in silence, read in silence – yet publishing a book has become a very noisy business. I’ve been noisy, too. I felt like I had to be in order to connect with my readers.

— Ellen Potter

If I cannot understand my friend’s silence, I will never get to understand his words.

— Enoch Powell

While silence can in some circumstances bespeak noble self-control, it can also signify suppression, oblivion or cowardice.

— Ephraim Mirvis

People think we are such great talkers, but there is so much silence in Ireland about certain issues.

— Fionnula Flanagan

I think television has betrayed the meaning of democratic speech, adding visual chaos to the confusion of voices. What role does silence have in all this noise?

— Federico Fellini

With their souls of patent leather, they come down the road. Hunched and nocturnal, where they breathe they impose, silence of dark rubber, and fear of fine sand.

— Federico Garcia Lorca

Silence has been destroyed, but also the idea that it’s important to learn how another person thinks, to enter the mind of another person. The whole idea of empathy is gone. We are now part of this giant machine where every second we have to take out a device and contribute our thoughts and opinions.

— Gary Shteyngart

Every language is a world. Without translation, we would inhabit parishes bordering on silence.

— George Steiner

Language can only deal meaningfully with a special, restricted segment of reality. The rest, and it is presumably the much larger part, is silence.

— George Steiner

There are three reasons why I live in Scotland. First, I like silence, and you have to be a millionaire to buy silence in Italy. Second, I like cold weather. Third, in Italy I have too many relatives and know too many people, so I never get a quiet time.

— Gian Carlo Menotti

I love to read, and I like the fact that there’s some silence in my life.

— Giancarlo Esposito

Choose silence of all virtues, for by it you hear other men’s imperfections, and conceal your own.

— George Bernard Shaw

If we had a keen vision of all that is ordinary in human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow or the squirrel’s heart beat, and we should die of that roar which is the other side of silence.

— George Eliot

As an immigrant, I appreciate, far more than the average American, the liberties we have in this country. Silence is a big enemy of morality. I don’t want our blunders in history to get repeated.

— Gloria Estefan

I’ve had every advantage in the world, despite the 18 years of silence which were nobody’s fault but mine.

— Gordon Getty

I have seen him set fire to his wigwam and smooth over the graves of his fathers… clap his hand in silence over his mouth, and take the last look over his fair hunting ground, and turn his face in sadness to the setting sun.

— George Catlin

It is a mistake to fancy that horror is associated inextricably with darkness, silence, and solitude.

— H. P. Lovecraft

Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted the indifference of those who should have known better the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most that has made it possible for evil to triumph.

— Haile Selassie

Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content.

— Helen Keller

Somewhere we know that without silence words lose their meaning, that without listening speaking no longer heals, that without distance closeness cannot cure.

— Henri Nouwen

In human intercourse the tragedy begins, not when there is misunderstanding about words, but when silence is not understood.

— Henry David Thoreau

Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing, only a signal shown, and a distant voice in the darkness So on the ocean of life, we pass and speak one another, only a look and a voice, then darkness again and a silence.

— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Instead of fostering the kind of dialogue in the boardroom that has in part contributed to our success, the board has inappropriately chosen to silence my concerns through termination as an executive officer.

— George Zimmer

And in the afternoon they entered a land – but such a land! A land hung in mourning, darkened by gigantic cypresses, submerged a land of reptiles, silence, shadow, decay.

— George Washington Cable

It was still quiet in the house, and not a sound was heard from outside, either. Were it not for this silence, my reverie would probably have been disrupted by reminders of daily duties, of getting up and going to school.

— Herman Hesse

I suffer from low self-esteem. I had horrible self-esteem growing up. You really have to save yourself because the critic within you will eat you up. It’s not the outside world – it’s your interior life, that critic within you, that you have to silence.

— Iman

In radio, you have two tools. Sound and silence.

— Ira Glass

When people are uncomfortable – and many people are when they have to negotiate – they start rambling as a way to fill the vacuum of silence. Some of the strongest negotiators I know just sit back and listen. The less they engage, the more likely the other person is to slip up and offer information they otherwise would have kept guarded.

— Ivanka Trump

Only the long melancholy call to prayer, or the wail of women over the dead, or the barking of dogs, breaks the silence which at sunset falls as a pall over Baghdad.

— Isabella Bird

When holiness is achieved by conforming to God’s will, one knows intuitively that which is wrong and that which is right before the Lord. Holiness speaks when there is silence, encouraging that which is good or reproving that which is wrong.

— James E. Faust

From politics, it was an easy step to silence.

— Jane Austen

Meditation is to be aware of every thought and of every feeling, never to say it is right or wrong, but just to watch it and move with it. In that watching, you begin to understand the whole movement of thought and feeling. And out of this awareness comes silence.

— Jiddu Krishnamurti

Only by going alone in silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness. All other travel is mere dust and hotels and baggage and chatter.

— John Muir

In the silence of night I have often wished for just a few words of love from one man, rather than the applause of thousands of people.

— Judy Garland

If you are a writer you locate yourself behind a wall of silence and no matter what you are doing, driving a car or walking or doing housework you can still be writing, because you have that space.

— Joyce Carol Oates

What I am looking for… is an immobile movement, something which would be the equivalent of what is called the eloquence of silence, or what St. John of the Cross, I think it was, described with the term ‘mute music’.

— Joan Miro

There is no such thing as an empty space or an empty time. There is always something to see, something to hear. In fact, try as we may to make a silence, we cannot.

— John Cage

One of the things I’ve always enjoyed is moving around and staying fit. Physicality is such a big part of being an actor, but it’s also about stillness and silence.

— Joel Edgerton

Silence is not what democracy needs. Right now we have an election where, even the supporters of Hillary Clinton, the majority don’t support Hillary they just oppose Donald Trump. And the majority of Donald Trump supporters don’t support him they just oppose Hillary.

— Jill Stein

You can’t lose your concentration at all. And there are times when you’re on the stage, and you’ve got silence, which is wonderful, but you have to have the confidence to make you realize it’s fine. You can’t suddenly wobble and think, ‘They’re not interested.’

— John Hurt

You should protest about the views of people you disagree with over major moral issues, and argue them down, but you should not try to silence them, however repugnant you find them. That is the bitter pill free speech requires us to swallow.

— Julian Baggini

It’s one of the most basic laws of human nature, isn’t it? The more we are denied something, the more we want it. The more silence given to this or that topic, the more power.

— Jill McCorkle

The Look of Silence’ is able to have a wide public release, although still not in cinemas. It’s distributed by two government bodies, the National Human Rights Commission and the Jakarta Arts Council.

— Joshua Oppenheimer

To put it crudely, ‘The Act of Killing’ would blast open the space for the more delicate film, ‘The Look of Silence,’ to do its work.

— Joshua Oppenheimer

You see, ‘The Look of Silence’ is the first film ever made where survivors confront perpetrators who still hold a monopoly on power. It’s normally never done because it is too dangerous.

— Joshua Oppenheimer

Children say they are unhappy in every language they have. They say it in silence, and they say it in riots.

— Jay Griffiths

The losses of the natural world are our loss, their silence silences something within the human mind.

— Jay Griffiths

I always felt that, when I saw Denzel or Viola do scenes in their past films or past projects, that if it’s a heavy scene, and it’s requiring a lot of emotional weight, that we would have nothing but silence and incense burning in between takes just to keep things quiet.

— Jovan Adepo

If we don’t bear witness as citizens, as people, as individuals, the right that we have had to life is sacrificed. There is a silence, instead of a speaking presence.

— Jane Rule

When you work for DC, it’s sort of like working for the CIA. You have a vow of silence.

— Jason Fuchs

A rat race is for rats. We’re not rats. We’re human beings. Reject the insidious pressures in society that would blunt your critical faculties to all that is happening around you, that would caution silence in the face of injustice lest you jeopardise your chances of promotion and self-advancement.

— Jimmy Reid

Going across the Tannai Desert was one of the spookiest experiences I’ve ever had. Not driving during the day that was fine. And so we camped in an old sort of truck siding, I think. And the silence. The eerie silence and then a dingo howling, and it was just so spooky. I didn’t sleep all night.

— Joan Kirner

New-Year’s Day arriving, and the ministers, to whom I wrote, remaining silent, I consider their silence as evidence, that they cannot prove what I said not to be from the Lord, and have therefore published as I was directed.

— Joanna Southcott

I can’t imagine writing a novel without some sound. When you’re facing a few hundred blank pages, silence can be cold.

— Josh Malerman

Thinking fascinates me, and I probably spend too much time in my mind. My wife says that my perfect world is to be in the Suburban driving, with her next to me and the boys in the back seat and complete silence for two thousand miles.

— John Larroquette

What I have experienced, and experienced repeatedly, is the silence of God. For many years, this was a distressing matter for me. I did not consider it an experience, but the absence of an experience.

— James P. Carse

A small silence came between us, as precise as a picture hanging on the wall.

— Jean Stafford

Ultimately when I gave up the use of motorized vehicles, I walked everywhere, from town to town, across states and two continents. When I stopped talking, I mean literally I stopped speaking. I took a complete vow of silence.

— John Francis

A good word is an easy obligation but not to speak ill requires only our silence, which costs us nothing.

— John Tillotson

There’s too many sounds in the world! The sounds of the earth are terrible! The roots squeezing and jostling one another through the clefts, and the crashing of the acorn from the oak. The cry of the little birdeen in under the silence of the hawk!

— Lady Gregory

I want to be able to say what’s on my mind and in my heart and what I think is helpful and useful without somebody getting angry, some special interest group deciding this is the time to silence a voice of dissent and attack affiliates, attack sponsors. I’m sort of done with that.

— Laura Schlessinger

Let the veil of silence fall presently over what happened afterwards. Silence, too, can speak out.

— Lech Walesa

I once spent an entire night in a hotel in New York looking across the way into someone’s apartment where nothing was happening but daily life, a phone call, television watching, staring into the fridge. Seeing how those strangers lived over that small distance and in absolute silence moved me deeply.

— Lauren Groff

When it comes to true humility in the face of history, nothing beats complete silence.

— Lev Grossman

The Look of Silence’ was an unforgettable, chilling documentary.

— Liz Tuccillo

Never forget the power of silence, that massively disconcerting pause which goes on and on and may at last induce an opponent to babble and backtrack nervously.

— Lance Morrow

I am representing here – the sound of silence. The cry of innocence. And, the face of invisibility. I represent millions of those children who are left behind, and that’s why I have kept an empty chair here as a reminder.

— Kailash Satyarthi

I like silence I’m a gregarious loner and without the solitude, I lose my gregariousness.

— Karen Armstrong

I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind yet, strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers.

— Khalil Gibran

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing. And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb. And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

— Khalil Gibran

The better the information it has, the better democracy works. Silence and secrecy are never good for it.

— Kate Adie

Though silence is not necessarily an admission, it is not a denial, either.

— Marcus Tullius Cicero

A voice is a human gift it should be cherished and used, to utter fully human speech as possible. Powerlessness and silence go together.

— Margaret Atwood

We cannot allow our fears and our disappointments to lead us into silence and into inaction. Because this country that God has blessed us with, it is worth fighting for.

— Marco Rubio

Many CEOs and leaders think that silence is indeed golden, that consensus is bliss. It is – sometimes. But more often what it signifies is that there are no respected processes for surfacing concerns and dissent.

— Margaret Heffernan

There’s nothing more powerful than a woman who knows how to contain her power and not let it leak, standing firmly within it in mystery and silence. A woman who talks too much sheds her allure.

— Marianne Williamson

In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

— Martin Luther King, Jr.

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.

— Martin Luther King, Jr.

Women have seldom sufficient employment to silence their feelings a round of little cares, or vain pursuits frittering away all strength of mind and organs, they become naturally only objects of sense.

— Mary Wollstonecraft

After an argument, silence may mean acceptance or the continuation of resistance by other means.

— Mason Cooley

With its imagination and large sales, Apple has become the world’s most valuable IT company. However people are starting to have doubts regarding Apple’s silence on heavy metal pollution problems.

— Ma Jun

People ask me, ‘Isn’t it scary living on your own?’ but in this industry, being at events, doing interviews, and doing promotion and constantly chatting about yourself, sometimes it’s really nice to just sit in silence or take a day where you can sleep in until 3 P.M. and then stay up as late as you like.

— Maisie Williams

For sin is just this, what man cannot by its very nature do with his whole being it is possible to silence the conflict in the soul, but it is not possible to uproot it.

— Martin Buber

I would like to take a moment of silence to remember all those who lost their lives at the hands of ISIS, especially Americans James Foley, Steven Sotloff, and, most recently, Kayla Mueller.

— Mike McCaul

I came to love silence, because it’s so rare, and it’s now my favorite aural condition.

— Mike Nichols

Music and silence combine strongly because music is done with silence, and silence is full of music.

— Marcel Marceau

The deepest feeling always shows itself in silence not in silence, but restraint.

— Marianne Moore

In American military cemeteries all over the world, seemingly endless rows of whitened grave markers stand largely unvisited and in silence. The gardeners tend the lawns, one section at a time. Even at the famous sites, tourism is inconstant.

— Mark Helprin

When you are interviewing someone, never let your camera person turn off the camera. The second you turn off the camera, they’ll say the magic thing that you’d been looking for the whole interview. People want to relax after the performance is done. Don’t be afraid of awkward silence. That is your friend.

— Marshall Curry

With a live audience, it’s very clear when you’ve pushed it too far to the edge – because you fall off that edge and hit bottom with a thud. Nothing abstract about that. You know you went too far when you hear that groan or worse – that silence instead of the big laugh you were expecting following your hilariously edgy joke.

— Michael Patrick King

She would sit by herself in the middle of the old stoe amphitheatre, with the sky’s starry vault overhead, and simply listen to the great silence around her.

— Michael Ende

Because music is a language unto itself, when I’m writing, I need silence. I need to hear the music and the rhythms of the words inside my thoughts.

— Marianne Wiggins

The Browning love story? It is an ideal, all too rare, and yet I hardly think it strange. It would have been far stranger had the fates allowed those two brilliant passionate souls to beat themselves out in silence.

— Marie Corelli

To hike out alone in the desert to sleep on the valley floor on a night with no moon, in the pitch black, just listening to the boom of silence: you can’t imagine what that’s like.

— Nicole Krauss

I worked for Sarah Palin. I have the political staffer version of P.T.S.D., so whenever I hear that she’s breaking her silence, my heart stops.

— Nicolle Wallace

We have a tendency to sugar coat the Civil Rights movement by showing arm in arm and everyone singing ‘Kumbaya’. We don’t really always show the resistance from the government, the resistance from the status quo, from the majority to silence the movement.

— Nate Parker

The media transforms the great silence of things into its opposite. Formerly constituting a secret, the real now talks constantly. News reports, information, statistics, and surveys are everywhere.

— Michel De Certeau

Once I was condemned to three months’ absolute silence. As I could not speak, I wrote a book.

— Nana Mouskouri

What a mysterious thing madness is. I have watched patients whose lips are forever sealed in a perpetual silence. They live, breathe, eat the human form is there, but that something, which the body can live without, but which cannot exist without the body, was missing.

— Nellie Bly

The news media’s silence, particularly television news, is reprehensible. If we knew as much about Darfur as we do about Michael Jackson, we might be able to stop these things from continuing.

— Nicholas D. Kristof

Those who had demanded no more than an end to the bombing of North Vietnam and a commitment to negotiations saw their demands being realized, and lapsed into silence.

— Noam Chomsky

Introspection, or ‘sitting in the silence,’ is an unscientific way of trying to force apart the mind and senses, tied together by the life force. The contemplative mind, attempting its return to divinity, is constantly dragged back toward the senses by the life currents.

— Paramahansa Yogananda

It appears that the Obama Administration is attempting to silence public comments and once again pander to extremist mining opponents seeking to undermine a bipartisan jobs bill that is estimated to create approximately 3,700 new jobs and generate $60 billion dollars for our economy.

— Paul Gosar

As you get older as a comedian and keep doing it, what you actually start to cherish on stage is not the build-up to the jokes, but how comfortable you can be in the silence and the non-laughing parts, and how long you can take the audience without a laugh to then get a huge reaction.

— Patton Oswalt

There are times when I have to take, I call it a ‘silence bath,’ where I shut off all of the external gadgets. I go walk around, talk to people, and just live life for a while.

— Patton Oswalt

As an artist I come to sing, but as a citizen, I will always speak for peace, and no one can silence me in this.

— Paul Robeson

A man who lives right, and is right, has more power in his silence than another has by his words.

— Phillips Brooks

Silence at the proper season is wisdom, and better than any speech.

— Plutarch

There are people and nations, Mother, that I would like to say to you by name. I entrust them to you in silence, I entrust them to you in the way that you know best.

— Pope John Paul II

It is better wither to be silent, or to say things of more value than silence. Sooner throw a pearl at hazard than an idle or useless word and do not say a little in many words, but a great deal in a few.

— Pythagoras

The most successful ideological effects are those which have no need for words, and ask no more than complicitous silence.

— Pierre Bourdieu

I readily concede that a prime minister is not required to speak on every occasion or on every subject, but when there is a duty to speak, silence is unacceptable. Silence can be a strategy, silence can be a tactic, but silence can never be an answer to the ills of our polity and the fault lines of our society.

— Palaniappan Chidambaram

I watched the first moon landing at a bar in Paducah, Kentucky, a fact worth mentioning only because I still remember how suddenly silence descended on this raucous place when Neil Armstrong started coming down that ladder.

— Pamela Sargent

We don’t need lists of rights and wrongs, tables of do’s and don’ts: we need books, time, and silence. Thou shalt not is soon forgotten, but Once upon a time lasts forever.

— Philip Pullman

For that reason you can’t write with music playing, and anyone who says he can is either writing badly, or not listening to the music, or lying. You need to hear what you’re writing, and for that you need silence.

— Philip Pullman

Words can sting like anything, but silence breaks the heart.

— Phyllis McGinley

Yoga is the settling of the mind into silence. When the mind has settled, we are established in our essential nature, which is unbounded Consciousness. Our essential nature is usually overshadowed by the activity of the mind.

— Patanjali

I believe with a lot of support shows, people are very much there to see the headliner. You don’t necessarily have their full attention, and some of what we do requires a lot of silence.

— Oliver Sim

There’s a bunch of Stephen King books I love. ‘Salem’s Lot’ was always one of my favourites. ‘It.’ ‘Needful Things.’ Moving away from King, and ‘Silence of the Lambs’ is always a good choice.

— Paul Cleave

Literature is the expression of a feeling of deprivation, a recourse against a sense of something missing. But the contrary is also true: language is what makes us human. It is a recourse against the meaningless noise and silence of nature and history.

— Octavio Paz

I think we all have our own personality, unique and distinctive, and at the same time, I think that our own unique and distinctive personality blends with the wind, with the footsteps in the street, with the noises around the corner, and with the silence of memory, which is the great producer of ghosts.

— Octavio Paz

I’ve seen ‘Silence of the Lambs,’ like, fifty or sixty times. That’s my favorite movie of all time.

— Rachel Nichols

What I do want is to be transparent about where I am and how I got here. I don’t like the cone of silence – it didn’t do me any favors in my 20s or 30s, and I don’t see it doing much for other women, either.

— Rachel Sklar

Enjoying art is a personal matter. It’s made up by contemplation, silence, abstraction.

— Renzo Piano

And new people come in, and it doesn’t go along with their politics, and they fire me, end the column, silence a voice in Los Angeles. They can’t silence it nationally, but they are able to do it there.

— Robert Scheer

There is a lot of silence in me, and I feel that silence is often better than spoken words.

— Randeep Hooda

Laws and mechanisms originally meant to enforce copyright, protect children and fight online crime are abused to silence or intimidate political critics.

— Rebecca MacKinnon

The correction of silence is what kills when you know you have transgressed, and your friend says nothing, and avoids your eye.

— Robert Louis Stevenson

In the courtroom of science, if you have the facts on your side, you don’t need a gun – and juries would be well advised to distrust the case of those parties who choose to use weapons to silence adversarial witnesses.

— Robert Zubrin

Sometimes, as a former football player, we have to go into that away game and silence the crowd. And just let them know I am the man. I’m going to be here for a long time.

— Roman Reigns

Internet outrage can seem mindless, but it rarely is. To make that assumption is dismissive. There’s something beneath the outrage – an unwillingness to be silent in the face of ignorance, hatred or injustice. Outrage may not always be productive, but it is far better than silence.

— Roxane Gay

I don’t mind being distracted. I don’t want to sit there in utter silence and type. If the phone rings, I usually answer it, speak for a few minutes and return to writing, or go for a walk in and out of the rooms. I don’t mind a break.

— Ruth Rendell

A book is still atemporal. It is you, in silence, hearing voices in your head, unfolding at a time that has nothing to do with the timescale of reading. And for the hours that we retreat into this moratorium, with the last form of private and silent human activity that isn’t considered pathological, we are outside of time.

— Richard Powers

Before the war is ended, the war party assumes the divine right to denounce and silence all opposition to war as unpatriotic and cowardly.

— Robert M. La Follette

Many old music hall fans were present at the funeral today of Fred ‘Chuckles’ Jenkins, Britain’s oldest and unfunniest comedian. In tribute, the vicar read out one of Fred’s jokes, and the congregation had two minutes silence.

— Ronnie Barker

At the time, acid made me consider questions of reality, the difference, as someone said, between words and silence. It also brought back a lot of latent religious feelings in me that I had turned my back on.

— Robert Stone

First and foremost, the monk should own nothing in this world, but he should have as his possessions solitude of the body, modesty of bearing, a modulated tone of voice, and a well-ordered manner of speech. He should be without anxiety as to his food and drink, and should eat in silence.

— Saint Basil

Where I am, I don’t know, I’ll never know, in the silence you don’t know, you must go on, I can’t go on, I’ll go on.

— Samuel Beckett

It is tact that is golden, not silence.

— Samuel Butler

You hesitate to stab me with a word, and know not – silence is the sharper sword.

— Samuel Johnson

The thing to keep in mind is that we’re still in the very early days when it comes to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Saying there’s a silence is a bit like if Columbus, looking to discover a new continent, only sailed 10 miles off the coast of Spain before turning back to say, ‘Nothing out there!’

— Seth Shostak

If you spend enough time with yourself in silence, you’ll be surprised what goes through your head.

— Sandra Bullock

I don’t think we spend enough time in silence, just realizing what’s floating around in our noggin.

— Sandra Bullock

To kill, in war or in any circumstance, creates a silence. It is right that silence should surround the taking of life. After all, the life taken is not ours to take.

— Stanley Hauerwas

Because we spoke so loudly, opponents of reproductive health access demonized and smeared me and others on the public airwaves. These smears are obvious attempts to distract from meaningful policy discussions and to silence women’s voices regarding their own health care.

— Sandra Fluke

Silence remains, inescapably, a form of speech.

— Susan Sontag

My liberal friends, Congressional Black Caucus members, talk about fighting for the defenseless, the hopeless, and the downtrodden. There is no one more hopeless and voiceless than an unborn baby, but their silence is deafening. I can’t hear them. Where are they standing up for their communities, advocating and fighting for their right to life?

— Sean Duffy

To a poet, silence is an acceptable response, even a flattering one.

— Sidonie Gabrielle Colette

Silence, this will surprise you not, isn’t really a Jewish concept.

— Simon Schama

I grew up in a wood cabin on Puget Sound in Manchester, Wash. My family taught me to appreciate the arts and the outdoors, and I still yearn for the absolute silence I experienced there when I was young.

— Steven Holl

I have to have music on when writing, or else the silence swallows me whole.

— Sarah J. Maas

If you are a great dramatic actor then you often don’t know if people are enjoying your stuff at all because they are sitting there in silence. But with comedy it’s a simple premise. If it’s funny, people laugh. If it’s not, they don’t.

— Steve Coogan

Our daily life is filled with electronic pianos, ring tones, the disembodied voice giving you your bank balance over the telephone. Even silence can be electronic, courtesy of sound-canceling headphones.

— Serge Schmemann

Every now and then, when you’re on stage, you hear the best sound a player can hear. It’s a sound you can’t get in movies or in television. It is the sound of a wonderful, deep silence that means you’ve hit them where they live.

— Shelley Winters

With others, I feel betrayed that those who had the authority in the Church to stop Brendan Smyth failed to act on the evidence I gave them. However, I also accept that I was part of an unhelpful culture of deference and silence in society and the Church, which thankfully is now a thing of the past.

— Sean Brady

The job of the press is to speak truth to power. And yet, for doing our job, we are persecuted. I say that these aggressive and illegal tactics to silence us – inventing arbitrary legal interpretations, over-zealous charges and disproportionate sentences – must not be permitted to succeed.

— Sara Harrison

Much talking is the cause of danger. Silence is the means of avoiding misfortune. The talkative parrot is shut up in a cage. Other birds, without speech, fly freely about.

— Saskya Pandita

When you think about Broadway, you think broad and big, but the fact is there are so many plays that are very intimate, but fill a 1,500-seat house. Plays like ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’ have deep moments of silence and intimacy to them.

— Steve Kazee

In the current environment, we find it very difficult to defend America, and so we keep our silence. Because, to be very frank with you, how can we defend America?

— Sultan bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud

I saw old Autumn in the misty morn stand shadowless like silence, listening to silence.

— Thomas Hood

I am a prince I have it all, and I hear your foot steps on the wall, I wait in silence for your call, and take a shot and watch you fall.

— Trey Anastasio

And they write innumerable books being too vain and distracted for silence: seeking every one after his own elevation, and dodging his emptiness.

— T. S. Eliot

To read Transtromer – the best times are at night, in silence, and alone – is to surrender to the far-fetched. It is to climb out of bed and listen to what the house is saying, and to how the wind outside responds. Each of his readers reads him as a personal secret.

— Teju Cole

It’s always an interesting experience for a politician to be heard in silence, I have to say.

— Theresa May

Silence is as deep as eternity, speech a shallow as time.

— Thomas Carlyle

When the oak is felled the whole forest echoes with it fall, but a hundred acorns are sown in silence by an unnoticed breeze.

— Thomas Carlyle

Silence is the element in which great things fashion themselves together that at length they may emerge, full-formed and majestic, into the delight of life, which they are thenceforth to rule.

— Thomas Carlyle

I grew up in New Mexico, and the older I get, I have less need for contemporary culture and big cities and all the stuff we are bombarded with. I am happier at my ranch in the middle of nowhere watching a bug carry leaves across the grass, listening to silence, riding my horse, and being in open space.

— Tom Ford

When it shall be known that, at the time which I was accused of wishing to sunder this island from France – my benefactress – I repeated the oath of fidelity to her, I take pleasure in believing that the government I own, and my fellow-citizens, will render me the justice I merit, and that the enemies of my brethren will be reduced to silence.

— Toussaint Louverture

Liars hate silence, so they often try to fill it up by talking more than they need to. They provide far more information than was needed or asked for.

— Travis Bradberry

I’m literally driving in the middle of the night, and my phone rings, and my manager says, ‘How would you like to be the host of the ‘Daily Show?” I get out the car, and I didn’t have legs. You know in those movies where there’s an explosion? But instead of the sound of the explosion, you hear the silence. That’s literally what happened.

— Trevor Noah

The Man Without a Country, was an orator no one could silence and no one could answer.

— Thomas Starr King

When I’m channel surfing, and ‘Silence of the Lambs’ comes on, I have trouble turning it off. I wouldn’t say that about ‘Beautiful Mind.’ It’s a good movie, but I’m much more in awe of what Jonathan Demme did with ‘Silence of the Lambs.’

— Toby Emmerich

One of the rules of the road is that if you want to create the sense of silence, it frequently has more pungency if you include the tiniest of sounds. By manipulating what you hear and how you hear it and what other things you don’t hear, you can not only help tell the story, you can help the audience get into the mind of the character.

— Walter Murch

True silence is the rest of the mind, and is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment.

— William Penn

You must learn to exist with no religion, no country, no allies. You must learn to live alone in silence.

— William S. Burroughs

The name Shatner is Austrian and partly Germanic, and there’s Germanic reticence and silence perhaps, but there is passion underneath.

— William Shatner

What could be more lonely than to be enveloped in silence, to be the last of your people to speak your native tongue, to have no way to pass on the wisdom of the elders, to anticipate the promise of the children. This tragic fate is indeed the plight of someone somewhere roughly every two weeks.

— Wade Davis

Some actors like encouragement. Some actors prefer to have pressure. And sometimes, for some actors, its better to give your comment by silence, because they are so skillful, so gifted, that they understand without talking too much.

— Wong Kar-wai

The desert has its holiness of silence, the crowd its holiness of conversation.

— Walter Elliot

There may be something good in silence. It’s a brand new thing. You can hear the funniest little discussions, if you keep turning the volume down. Shut yourself up, and listen out loud.

— Wes Borland

I am a boring loner. I enjoy Friday nights at home in my rocking chair with no arms, rocking and relaxing. It’s not uncommon for Netflix to be involved. Records are a possibility, but most of it is spent in silence.

— Valerie June

There is a silence, the child of love, which expresses everything, and proclaims more loudly than the tongue is able to do.

— William Drummond

Put a bridle on thy tongue set a guard before thy lips, lest the words of thine own mouth destroy thy peace… on much speaking cometh repentance, but in silence is safety.

— William Drummond

I don’t have a BlackBerry or whatever you call it. And there is something to be said for being isolated and out of phone range, because you can fall into a habit to such a degree that you don’t even realise that you’ve lost something: silence.

— Viggo Mortensen

In my mind, depression is, like all non-communicable diseases, a physiologically expressed condition which is profoundly influenced by our social and cultural environments. Depression is a global crisis not only because it is common and universal, but because the vast majority of affected people suffer in silence or receive inappropriate care.

— Vikram Patel

French men can be very tough too, you know… Real bad boys move in silence, as we know, so you don’t have to be loud and muscular to be scary, actually.

— Vincent Cassel

Give me a mystery – just a plain and simple one – a mystery which is diffidence and silence, a slim little bare-foot mystery: give me a mystery – just one!

— Yevgeny Yevtushenko

I excavate history. I look at lives buried under too much silence. Periods of time, like slavery, have to be revisited, reimagined, so we can move through them.

— Yusef Komunyakaa

I can write best in the silence and solitude of the night, when everyone has retired.

— Zane Grey

We should read music in the same way that an educated adult will read a book: in silence, but imagining the sound.

— Zoltan Kodaly

We belong to talking, not what talking is about… Stop talking – and you are out. Silence equals exclusion.

— Zygmunt Bauman
Quotes About Silence

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