Koshka's Kingdom





The Scratching Post
Wildcat Den
Mount Paozu
Observatory
UFO
Per-Bast
Town of ZZT
Castle of Doom
Library of Babel
Reptile House
Haunted House
Dock

The World is Way Too Fucking Loud


Regular readers may have noticed that I try to make it a point to almost never curse, just to make the rare times that I do use foul language more impactful. In the case of this article title, I feel like it could still benefit from a few more profane words in order to properly convey my sentiments.

One of the things that irritates me the most about the modern world (and there are far too many such things for me to ever cover them all) is how vexingly and overwhelmingly LOUD it is. It's as if every aspect of society (at least in the U.S.) is tailoured specifically to the sensory needs of the extremely hard-of-hearing, or perhaps to a particularly obnoxious type of howler monkeys.

This is probably the point where I should add that I live rather far away from the closest city (praise be to Bast for that) and am thus usually spared the noise hell of that. It defies my imagination how anyone can live in such crowded, noisy, dirty environments and retain their sanity, but considering city-dwellers are far more prone to mental illness (also proven by their voting patterns), perhaps no one actually does!

Every justification people give for why living in a city is supposedly a positive experience always comes off as hilarious levels of coping to me. It's always some vague platitudes about "culture" and having lots of "things to do." First of all, if you need to live in a hellishly high-stimulation environment like a city in order to avoid boredom, you are the definition of an NPC. There are far too many interesting subjects to educate oneself on, many excellent books to read, and tantalising questions to ponder upon for any sentient being to rightly complain about being bored at any time in their fleeting existence.

Being packed like sardines with millions of humans, being exposed to the perpetual cacophony inherent in such an environment, and having little to no access to nature is objectively a wholly unnatural way of existence and its negative effects on the human psyche are not surprising. A few years ago, I was cruising in my car on a scenic backroad when I was forced to stop due to car troubles. In spite of the minimal traffic on the road, multiple people had stopped and offered to help me with my predicament.

This kind of compassionate behaviour towards a complete stranger is business as usual out in the country. City-dwelling insect-people on the other hand, won't even bother to stop and help you if you're actively being raped in the street. Apparently this is the wonderful culture that is worth paying five figures per year to live inside a glorified dog house in order to experience. Or maybe it was the privilege of stepping into a homeless person's excrement on your way to work. Us peasants with our forests, houses, clean air, and non-sociopathic neighbours, can only dream of such splendour.

When it comes to the noise problems of the modern world, I place the blame squarely on the Industrial Revolution and the "extrovert ideal" culture that it ushered in. Susan Cain went into great detail on this in her terrific book "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking," which I personally consider something that everyone needs to read if they have not yet done so.

In short, industrialisation drove increasing swathes of the population into the cities, where they suddenly found themselves in a pseudo-anonymous new world where they were surrounded by total strangers, and their success was dependent less on their character and accomplishments, and more on what impression they make on others. Success became based on feels ("charisma") as opposed to reals (merit,) as some may word it.

One interesting detail I recall from that book, is the noticeable shift during the start of the 20th century in what traits were emphasised in self-help books. Books from before that era emphasised traits such as "duty, citizenship, honour, morals" - traits of an objectively good person. By the 1920s, books of this genre were instead emphasising traits such as "energetic, magnetic, dominant, attractive" - traits that sound like they're coming from an advertisement for a circus performance artist.

In this brave new world, the boorish village idiot suddenly became the ideal citizen, while the humble and hard-working blacksmith found themselves cast aside as an undesirable. From that point on, it no longer mattered what one does, only what sort of performance one puts on in public.

The depressingly commonplace practice of evangelical scumbags stiffing waitresses on tips on Sundays because they feel they have already fulfilled all of the moral duty to the world by sitting in their trashy McChurch for 2 hours earlier that morning is an excellent example of this. "Of course I'm a good person! I sat there and cheered when my pastor talked about all of that Jesus loving stuff! What else do I need to do?"

Growing up, the quote "it is better to keep one's mouth shut and be thought a fool, than to open it and remove all doubt" was one of the nuggets of wisdom that stuck with me the most. The world would surely be a far more tolerable place if everyone heeded that advice. It's still up for debate whether introverts are more intelligent than extroverts, and while I tend to lean towards assuming that we are, I am open to the idea that it merely seems that way because the majority of extroverts are incapable of not blaring out every foolish half-thought that forms in their cranium for all the world to hear.

The average extrovert is a bland, soulless NPC at best, and an obnoxious, loathsome primate at worst. I've met people who legitimately had no interests beyond talking to other people about nothing. People who have probably never had a single original thought in their entire life, and whose sole purpose in this world appears to be to function as a 24/7 radio station broadcasting the inane details of their life and the life of everyone who interacts with them.

I've wondered before how birds can cobble together enough subject matter to chatter at each other all day long, but if hyper-extroverts have the intellectual capacity to do so, then it would follow that birds can do the same. At least the latter has actual life skills and accomplishments beyond meaningless social minutiae.

This is not to say that there do not existence many extroverts that are genuinely intelligent, considerate, and kind people (I have met quite a few at my workplace alone.) Sadly however, there are also a great many that are odious simpletons bereft of basic empathy and manners, which sour the reputation of the whole lot. The sort of ill-bred scoundrels that are seemingly incapable of speaking at a non-deafening volume, or go around interrupting other people's thoughts and activities with their inane smalltalk, or to point out that they're quiet. It's as if they're under the bizarre impression that their mouth is an engine that powers the rest of their body and they'll drop dead if they shut their cakeholes for 5 seconds. If only...

For the record, it's not merely loudness that I refer to when I call people like this obnoxious or bereft of empathy. I've met extroverts who somehow hold down jobs that involve talking to people all day that still lack basic "social skills." I despise that term but I see no better way to describe people who thinks it's acceptable to walk up to people involved in a conversation and start loudly interrupting them, or to walk into an office where people are working and hold a loud conversation with someone else while standing on opposite ends of someone who's working. Anyone who doesn't believe that humans involved from apes either hasn't observed enough humans, or observed enough apes.

There seems to exist a widespread belief that it's perfectly OK to be as obnoxious and inconsiderate as one desires, if one is having fun in the process. A person is painted as a villain for calling the police over a raucous, loud party that is preventing them from getting the rest they need to work the next day, or for asking a boorish person to speak quietly in order to that they can focus on what they are doing.

Maddox created an excellent article and video about the cultural phenomenon of the Grinch being universally labeled as some sort of particularly heinous villain for non-violently intervening to stop the residents of Who-ville from tormenting him with their unceasing racket. Personally, I would've mowed the entire town's populace down with a minigun (in Minecraft of course) if I had been in the Grinch's shoes, so I would say they got off very lightly for their crimes.

I am very much in favour of personal freedoms, but I just as firmly believe that a person's rights end where someone else's rights begin. I am a very strong defender am a stalwart defender of the right to bear arms, but I obviously also understand that this right does not make it permissible to endanger an innocent person's life or safety with a gun. I feel similiarly about loud and obnoxious noises, which can easily be argued to be a sensory assault on autistic people, people with misophonia, highly sensitive people, or really anyone who isn't extremely hard-of-hearing. And yes, noise is used and has been successfully used to torture people.

Now, some people will hear this argument and immediately start thinking something along the lines of "why should anyone have to accommodate your sensitivities? Toughen up or get some noise-cancelling headphones snowflake!" - an argument that can be more accurated restated as "I DO WHAT I WANT, MUM!!!". To this I like to respond with a hypothetical scenario where one is stuck on a long elevator ride with an individual with anosmia (smell blindness) and severe flatulence.

From the perspective of this person, your complaints about the rank stench that they are subjecting you to might come off as nothing but the whining of an overly sensitive individual. Why should they strain themselves to accommodate some Grinch/snowflake by holding the gas in, if they themselves don't feel any ill effects from releasing it? As goofy as this hypothetical scenario is, I wonder if an eternal elevator ride such as this would be a very karmic Hell for some particularly lowbred people, or at the very least an unrefined but effective way to teach empathy to an obnoxious extrovert roommate.

The argument about noise-cancelling headphones is one that I find to be even more despicable and crass. For one, good noise-cancelling headphones are usually quite expensive and many people may not even be able to afford a pair. Moreover, it can be extremely uncomfortable to wear them for a prolonged period of time. Even worse is that headphones that are of high enough quality to protect the wearer from harmful noise, also leaves them deaf to important signals, such as fire alarms. People should be not be forced to inconvenience themselves to the point of potentially putting their own life at risk, simply because of another individual's deplorable behaviour.

What is perhaps even more vexing than people with no apparent ability to speak at a polite volume, is people that constantly make noise purely for the sake of making noise. I once had a co-worker that felt the need to broadcast whenever she was in a foul mood by slamming drawers and other items, and intentionally typing on her keyboard so loudly that it almost made wonder if she was a Shaolin monk getting her finger training for the day in. I do not exaggerate when I say that I make less noise typing 100 WPM on my fancy mechanical keyboard at home.

People with obnoxiously loud laughs and/or who insist on clapping while laughing surely have a special place in Hell reserved for them. I am not sure if this is a common thing worldwide, or simply another obnoxious byproduct of the childish American extrovert ideal, which despises subtleness and embraces buffoonish, theatrical displays. In Russian culture, it is common to quietly laugh at a joke or to simply smile in place of a laugh, as this is enough to convey the necessary information.

Of course, I can hardly rant about the plague of obnoxiously loud people without at least mentioning crying babies. It would be irrational to scorn a baby for its natural behaviour, but I don't think any civic-minded people would be opposed to a law being passed that prohibits babies from being taken into public spaces unless they are muzzled. Muzzles designed for babies already exist in the famously polite and considerate Japan, and are a perfect solution to this problem for everyone, babies and entitled natalists aside.

Dogs are another obnoxious yet apparently beloved critter that deserves a mention here. "Man's best friend," a status no doubt bestowed on them by a pitiable ignoramus whose path has never once been graced by a cat, is in some ways similiar to a firearm -- it is not inherently bad on its own and is capable of doing much good, but winds up in the hands of awful people far too often. To me they serve as a disheartening reminder of how awful most human beings due to how many of them take on the behaviours of their human companions. I have met dogs that were raised by good people, and that were invariably wonderful to interact with. I have also met a number of utterly offensive dogs whose behaviour made perfect sense after interacting with the lowlifes that raised them.

There was a beautifully karmic news story back in the early 90s, wherein a man repeatedly physically abused a goat in order to make him more aggressive. Eventually the goat finally snapped and gored and killed the man in revenge. I would personally be in favour of a similiar sort of punishment for anyone who allows their dog(s) to bark incessantly. Stick the offender into a prison cell for a month and subject them to an onslaught loud barking noises via an intercom for the entire duration of their stay.

There is much to be said about the often unbearable noise generated by construction and road work, but since this, unlike previous subjects, is an unavoidable part of necessary work, I will avoid ranting about it here. What is utterly unnecessary however, is the scourge of people using leaf blowers. I say unnecessary because there already exists an invention that can be used to perform the exact same function as a leaf blower, and that does not suffer from any of its many problems -- the common rake.

Leaf blowers create a loud, irritating racket, consume electricity, and produce a horrifying amount of toxic emissions. All of that, just to accomplish essentially the same thing - pushing some leaves around - that the wind is constantly doing on its own. It also costs far more than a rake and requires more maintenance. The only "downside" that a rake has when compared to a leaf blower is that it takes longer to get the job done and requires more effort, and I am loathe to even call that a negative. Getting fresh air and exercise is always a boon.

Possibly the most obnoxious crime of all of the ones detailed in this article, is that of the irredeemable troglodytes that drive cars or motorcycles with purposefully load engines. Even worse are the particularly subhuman drivers that go as far as to modify their cars for the sole purpose of making them even louder. Unlike all of the previous things that I have mentioned, this is unequivocally nothing but producing loud noise purely for the sake of being a nuisance to others. I can only imagine how much humiliation these people have had to endure from struggling to find their tiny pecker at the urinal to have to go to such lengths to attempt to compensate for it.

Personally I believe that if someone is that desperate to make noise and draw attention to themselves and their vehicle, they should be attached to their car's back bumper with a chain and dragged face-down along the asphalt by the car until they expire. Their screaming and begging would surely bestow all the attention they could ever want upon them, and it would give the rest of us some pleasant background noise to relax to for once.

Loud cars aren't merely an annoyance to people. Noise pollution, largely from cars and other vehicles, directly harms animals and entire ecosystems according to the World Health Organisation. Animals are struggling to hear each other's communication over all of the noise, and are even being forced to evolve to be louder in order to compensate. Think about that the next time you hear the tell-tale sound of an impotent genetic failure broadcasting his mating call from his trashy modified car.

Another form of noise that I detest to my very core is the loud music in every supermarket and many other public spaces. Why did anyone even think that going to the supermarket needed to be accompanied by a soundtrack? I'm buying food for the week, not achieving Ultra Instinct. If I need a soundtrack, I'll use my MP3 player. I did look this up at one point and found that there is a positive correlation between background music being played in a supermarket and time spent in the supermarket, which helps increase sales.

Being autistic, this is hard for me to believe since the loud, lamestream drivel being blared in supermarkets is one big reason why my average trip to the store is as swift and efficient as a mob hit. Perhaps if the environment was friendlier, I would be tempted to stop and browse. As it is, I can't even tell that someone is trying to speak to me unless I'm consciously paying attention to them sometimes, because of the completely unnecessary background noise getting in the way.

There have been some efforts made by supermarkets in some countries to create "sensory hours" or "quiet hours" where the music is turned off and the lights are dimmed, but due to being observed during very limited and strange hours, they amount to little more than virtue signaling. The example in New Zealand that I just linked to is limited to 2:30 PM to 3:30 PM on Wednesdays, for instance.

Despite the rampant discrimination against autistic people in the workplace, there are a good number of us who do have jobs. I am sure there are also plenty of working neurotypicals who would appreciate the opportunity to peacefully buy groceries without having their senses assaulted in the process.

If you're wondering why I still haven't said anything about the scourge of halfwits blasting shitty music in their cars, it's because I am part of the problem. I tend to listen to girly J-Pop in my car, and I always make a point of turning it up as loud as the stereo goes whenever I'm stuck at a traffic light with or driving alongside some douchebag who does this. It drowns them out, demonstrates to them just how imbecilic and insufferable they look to the rest of the world, and gives everyone else something pleasant to listen to. You're welcome!