The Sound Of Silence

The Sound of Silence

Commentary by: Bill the Butcher

When dealing with the work of a master lyricist one must interpret on multiple levels. Of course, there is the melody. Frankly (And sadly) this is as far as most people go, but the melody is only the bait. And if it is a redo of standard riffs, while it may please the ear while driving to work the real message is somewhere beyond that. And that message is full of double meanings and allegory that eludes the casual listener. Sometimes the illusion may take years or even decades to decipher. So it is with the classic Sounds of Silence.

It is understandable that the true meaning of the words were obscured for years as the world described did not even exist when the Prophet, Paul Simon penned them. And that world had to come out in its entirety before it didn’t need reaching to understand. The meaning was there in its entirety. Every word. Every image. Every prediction. You could see it if you only looked.

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

The darkness refers to the darkness the composer finds himself within. Being a songwriter myself, I can testify that sometimes you will write things that even you don’t understand. It must be left to posterity. For those at some future date to absorb based on their works, not yours. While being poetic it makes little sense, or maybe only bits and pieces will glimmer. But the vision in the dream remains, albeit quietly. Silently waiting for those yet to be born to interpret through the glass of their own particular world view. Only then will the pieces of the puzzle become clear.

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
‘Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence

In his sleep the dreamer is alone. He is walking on cobblestone, not asphalt. As one who grew up in Shreveport, Louisiana I can tell you that a masonry street is vastly different from a freeway. A freeway is designed to get you there. A brick street is made to take you there. Sadly, most people take the ride and miss the trip.

He finds himself beneath a street lamp. And it’s cold. It’s damp. He has to raise his collar to protect himself from the elements. It’s a foreboding place. But he is alone. Just then a neon light “splits” the darkness, touching something because just beyond the darkness lies the “Sound of Silence!”

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 share
No one dared
Disturb the sound of silence

Then before his eyes he discovers that he is not alone. There are others. Thousands. Perhaps even more. Millions, billions, stumbling in the darkness, searching for a mysterious sound they cannot hear. Talking, but not speaking. Hearing, but not listening. Writing songs that will never be sung. Because they knew better. To do things in the usual way, the understanding of millennia would break the silence. The light of reason would intervene, and the spell would be broken. Then conversation would replace the thoughtless text message. Enlightened discussion would utilize comprehending and not just hearing sound bites, and songs would come from the heart and not from some artificial intelligence designed by some algorithm from the inaudible roar of the sound of silence. And that roar must not be disturbed because human nature dictates that any existing evil is better than the unknown.

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming

Then, just as the children of Israel, there at the base of Mount Sinai, the people made an idol. A god of artificial light. Not light from the stars, or the sun, but man’s light. The Bible is rife with numbers. Three is holy. Seven represents completion, perfection, and six is man’s number. One digit short of the Divine. Made in the image of God, but not quite God, and the neon light, while illuminating is not whole. Just a tad short. 666! Man, Man, Man! And they bow and pray to it! And the anti-light answers them.

And the sign said, “The words of the prophets
Are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls
And whispered in the sounds of silence”

It gives them a message with a warning. Always remember The Devil was once the Angel of Light. He will mix the truth with lies, and as Mick Jagger once told us, “But what’s puzzling you Is the nature of my game!”

In that spirit the sign tells the multitude the truth. Everything you hold holy, everything you ever believed, every hope you ever had has been consigned to graffiti on dank walls of public transportation and the filthy halls of slums filled with homeless people sleeping in those halls who couldn’t care less. But the words are there! You could have seen them had you only looked.




The Liberty Beacon Project is now expanding at a near exponential rate, and for this we are grateful and excited! But we must also be practical. For 7 years we have not asked for any donations, and have built this project with our own funds as we grew. We are now experiencing ever increasing growing pains due to the large number of websites and projects we represent. So we have just installed donation buttons on our websites and ask that you consider this when you visit them. Nothing is too small. We thank you for all your support and your considerations … (TLB)


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