THE Green Bank Observatory, in West Virginia (pictured), is a cluster of radio telescopes in a mountain valley. According to The New York Times‘s Pagan Kennedy, these giant devices are “like superhuman ears—they can tune into frequencies from the lowest to the highest ends of the spectrum.”
However, as even a short-circuiting electric toothbrush could interfere with their signals, the residents of Green Bank do not use mobile phones, Wi-Fi, microwave ovens, or any other devices that generate electromagnetic waves, and it has become a haven for those with the debatable disability of electromagnetic hypersensitivity.
Kennedy calls their town “the land where the Internet ends.”
Inside the National Radio Quiet Zone, she experienced “the kind of silence that I hadn’t heard in years.” But she asks: “Who will save the endangered Quiet Zone inside our own heads? What about the thoughts as subtle as the transmissions from the remote galaxies of our memories? Is the ever-present hum of the internet drowning those out, too?”
Unfortunately, many of us know the answer to her question.
A teen I know is so used to constant entertainment that she plugs in her headphones for every car trip, watches Youtube on her phone while washing dishes (!) and claims she can’t go to sleep at night without music. Often even one device is not enough, and she will play a phone game while “watching” Netflix on TV or listen to a social media influencer while doing homework on her tablet!
If we want to have good mental health and know peace, we all need a “Radio Quiet Zone” for our souls.
In the Bible, God says, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). It is a real challenge in our modern world to turn off and experience silence. To learn what it is to quiet our spirits, to hear our own thoughts and perhaps, even, to hear our Maker’s voice.
Christians have long advocated a daily “quiet time”, a few minutes of time, usually in the morning, during which they read the Bible and pray, clearing their head and preparing for the day.
Another good way to get some “Radio Quiet Zone” is to get out into nature (without headphones) – walk in the garden or on the beach, look up into the trees – and let God speak to you through His creation.
I read somewhere that to be free of device addiction, we should turn off our devices for an hour a day, a day a week and a week a year. Even that is a daunting prospect for many, but I think a more frightening thing would be to come to end of our lives and find that we have crowded out the important with the irrelevant and filled our minds with trivia, missing the Truth.•