What does The Sound of Silence mean?

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Simon & Garfunkel: The Sound of Silence Meaning


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Song Released: 1965

Covered By: Bananarama (2009), Disturbed (2015)

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The Sound of Silence Lyrics

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Hello darkness, my old friend,
I've come to talk with you again,
Because a vision softly creeping,
Left its seeds while I was sleeping,
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence.

In restless...


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    Oct 11th, 2016 10:22am report

    Ok here it goes. Art Garfunkle in an interview clearly stated it was about the inability of people to communicate, not in terms of plain languge, or international issues, but rather spiritualy and emotionaly. The result being, an inability to love one another. Paul Simon on the other hand literaly said, I dont actualy know. I wrote my parts on several occassions, while sitting in the dark, in the bathroom of my parents house, while playing my guitar. So it seems to me that while Paul was speaking in one type of medaphore, art clearly took it to another level. As to it being about politicians lying, and people speaking hollow words, that would indeed fit into the notion that while we can speak the same language, our spoken words amount to no worthwhile communication at all. Regarding our false idols, this is easy enough to interperate, as humans have done this for centuries. Now adays rather than a golden lamb, it is more likely to be pro athletes, movie stars, music stars, etc. So in a nutshell, while paul may not have originaly intended this to be such an altruistic message, art managed to turn it into one that will ring true for a long time to come. We are like sheep allowing our government to control us and remove our liberties, and we follow them to the slaughter. We are also like sheep in that few of us practice critical thinking, and as a result most fall prey not only to poloticians, but the corporate whores who sell us all the debauchery we can consume., and consume we do. With that in mind, this song is every bit as powerful and purposful today as when it was first released, if not more so.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 3:33am report

    This may be coming from a generation to far into the distant future to understand the feelings of the time, but here it goes:

    The first stanza Simon refers to darkness as being his "old friend" that he came to talk with because he was awoken in the middle of the night, of a nightmare that still lingers in his head, that gives his a considerable amount of distress. So bad that the awful visions were still flashing before his eyes as he is awake.

    Second stanza begins setting the scene in which the dream took place: at night, him walking along the cobblestone road where he stops below the light of a streetlight. The cold chill runs up his back, so he lifts his collar to the "cold and damp." Just then, a blight neon sign lit up, showing that he, in fact, was not alone. But there were "ten thousand maybe more" all gathered in the cold night. The people who are talking, not speaking, are politicians, who are using false words to sway the population to vote for them, never revealing true intentions. The people therefore are hearing are not listening.

    They are taking these words that are spoken to them in plain value, not examining or putting into depth anything that is said. Because of this, as referred to later, these politicians have formed a government that the people in fact voted for and supported until it began to act as a dictatorship. This seems that Simon is making an inditement to a large government that has taken away the freedoms of its people. A future for America it seemed with the rise of government in world affairs as in entered Vietnam. This "future America" has given Americans everything, and has the power the take it all away, hence the people "bow and pray to the neon god they made."

    The Silence that is referred to is the silence of the people, afraid to say anything against the government for fear of death or worse. Simon, or whoever has had this dream, tries to bring people to speak out. Saying "Fools, you do not know, Silence like a cancer grows" that as more are afraid to speak, the more control the government takes and the less anyone will stand up to the new government.

    As all hope is about to be given up, someone steps up and says to the crowd that the future they will hold has been written on the walls of subways and tenement halls. This is because this form of protest can be done anonymously, therefore no one can get in trouble for it. This begins the whispering in the silence of the people, and starts the beginning of a revolt.

    -I hope you enjoyed a younger perspective on this classic song. USMCRIFLEMAN2006


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    Mar 11th, 2016 3:34am report

    I have meditated on this for a long time. It was the flash of the neon light one day that I got it... Silence is a deep feeling we all have at some time. Some of us allow ourselves to go into a deep depression where we dwell on the past and place blame on others, the cold and damp... for out lot in life. WE are in this carbon form trying to find the meaning of life. The words of the subway walls, the society trying to tell us WHAT to think instead of HOW to think. To follow blindly.. If we talk to the darkness within ourselves, meditate and stop searching, Allow the light to shine. In the naked light, within myself we become enlightened. The masses of humanity all like myself, searching and not finding... hearing but not listening. Humanity being led by the controlling faction. Not listening to their own soul and thinking for themselves. thinking is hard work, following is easy. And the vision that was planted in my brain still remains, the power of the universe given to me, to shed light on my own soul. Think for my self, stop being led blindly by the controlling faction. Feed my soul with compassion and caring. Whisper the sounds of silence. I have the ability to make my own choice, to be happy and live in the light or continue in the darkness and depression of thinking and feeling as I am "SUPPOSED" to as a sheep dictated by a shepherd society.


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    Today, 02:42 report

    I thought that when the song says in the naked light I saw ten thousand people maybe' refers of the judgement day that it saw ten thousand people maybe more...


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    Feb 8th, 2:50am report

    This song is about the assignation and death of Kennedy.


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    Jan 27th, 1:03am report

    Feeling that no one is listening (to you) or anyone else.


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    Jan 24th, 1:09pm report

    Same message as "A Horse With No Name." Meditation is crucial for spiritual survival during an earth incarnation. The soul is pleading, yet lamenting. "...words, like silent raindrops fell and echoed in the wells of silence," as is "...and the story it told of a river that flowed made me sad to think it was dead." Silence! No Name! "Silence" is for those who have "ears to hear."


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    Jan 4th, 1:20am report

    To me it appeared to be about dark times/depression that was isolating even when around thousands of people. Going through the motion but not able to communicate and people not really hearing the distress as they continue with their daily routine, like robots programmed, not able to think for themselves anymore. Isolated, alone, lonely and not able to emotionally or verbally connect with one another. Living a life without hope or purpose.


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    Dec 18th, 12:41am report

    Garfunkel once summed up the song's meaning as "the inability of people to communicate with each other, not particularly internationally but especially emotionally, so what you see around you are people unable to love each other." WIKI
    There is nothing wonderful about this song.
    Wrong date from the first song I commented today.. not 17 but 18
    - CONFIDENTIAL 12/18/17


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    Dec 18th, 12:27am report

    This song is prophetic. "People talking without speaking", that's what's happening now in this electronic age, we talk to each other without speaking. "People hearing without listening", we hear by reading...
    Wonderful song.


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    Dec 8th, 12:52pm report

    I really couldn’t help but associate this with PTSD. Visions softly creeping .. left it’s seeds while I was sleeping... which is exactly what happens... visions, experiences coming back in dreams, that may have been dormant - but still remain! The loneliness and lack of ability to communicate resonate with PTSD and so very much does this song. Also the lack of recognition and support for this illness for so long is evident within the lyrics. Perhaps not it’s initial intention but definitely very fitting.


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    Dec 4th, 12:53pm report

    I really don't have any opinion about what one thinks the meaning behind this song is. I only know that the acapella version that David Draiman does is absolutely wonderful.


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    Dec 1st, 12:11pm report

    Disturbed's vision and voice cover did a awesome job with Simon and Garfunkel's original version of The Sound of Silence. As was the prophetized warning of our coming alienation from one another. By our lack of one on one or face to face communication with each other that was beginning to break down. David Draiman gave us a renewed cry. For the times now as a S.O.S Wake Up Call with a developed empathetic concerned anger. In order to see of what's left of our humanity's soul, and ACKNOWLEDGE within 'the sound of silence' our spiritual disconnect that became more alien to us to connect as human beings. Who have been conditioned far to long to worship,fight and struggle for the wrong reasons at times. Within this technological neon god we have created. That's in, and the material world of ours. which has and still is creating too much and far to many false material profits that have been splitting and alienating us further apart.


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    Nov 27th, 11:43am report

    I believe the song is about PTSD and nightmares. The silence represents the night and the quiet and the sound represents the things in someone's head that haunts them at night. Given the time it was written it could be about a soldier suffering from what we now call PTSD. No one daring to disturb it may have to do with the fact that we were unaware of the problem back when the song was written.


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    Oct 18th, 10:35am report

    Written during the Vietnam war era. Country rent nearly in pieces. Maybe this was Simon and Garfunkel backdrop?

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


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    Oct 13th, 10:32pm report

    I believe in God giving visions, and I believe God is telling them that they are putting all of their hopes and dreams on things of this earth instead of things above. You can keep searching for things to make you happy but they don't, and until you make that decision to follow what your soul is really in need of you will still have that sound of silence . The great awakening will be when you have turned your life to the one who made you and find that peace that only God can give.


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    Oct 1st, 10:04pm report

    Clearly this could be prophetic of the inability to communicate due to our new neon God the cell phone. No one talks and no one listens anymore. They sit in silence and stair into their screens. Spoken words with real meaning are not heard. Just text me.


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    Aug 30th, 8:03pm report

    he is going to a dark spiritual place.. he is talking to God. Its about peoples abandonment of God. vision of heaven.. people talking without speaking is how spiritual communication takes place. Same as listening. People worshiping neon excitement over God.. His silent teardrops fell on hollow heads/ears

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