In my own experience, in parts of Latin America, people were uncomfortable not with noise but with silence. Interpretation? Noise tended to mean humanity interacting, enjoying life, facing challenges, even protesting. Silence seemed ominous, perhaps secretive; what you don't see or hear me give you no chance to escape it.
Depending on the culture(s) we bring with us, we may have to learn how to experience noise or silence differently, lest the threat that each feels differently cause conflict. For some no noisiness is seen as imminent violence; for others silence is seen that way.
I am not speaking here about the fact that some folk are more or less talkative, expressive or interactive than others–we've noticed these aspects that are found to a greater and lesser degree in different cultures. I am writing from Finland today, where I often wonder whether my chattiness is overdone, when not reciprocated. Rather, I am speaking of the level of ambient sounds of busyness, clanking kitchens, music piped in or out, etc., etc. To what degree are these loved or avoided in various cultural contexts? I haven't seen this topic much addressed from a cultural perspective and would be interested in hearing others' perspectives, experiences on this.
One could do a similar reflection on the cultural attitudes to light and darkness. Looking at general tendencies is, certainly, only a starting point, only, of course as one must refine cultural perspectives by how they may or may not show up in different contexts.
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