What is Silence? Wendy Brown Reading
When I saw that we were reading Wendy Brown, after we had read some of her quotes in Sweeney’s book, I was prepared to feel negatively about her. I’m not sure if I understood correctly, but when reading “Reading is my Window” I understood that Sweeney was often arguing against Brown’s words and I often find myself taking the authors side. So it was interesting to begin reading Brown feeling like I was going to question everything she said (when normally I tend to go along with the authors words), and this was more complicated by the fact that I had to read slowly to understand. I tried to read critical, and even though I thought I would be against a lot of what she wrote, what I understood mostly made sense to me, but was also complicated by the fact that a lot of it seemed paradoxical. Examples of some paradoxes I stumbled across were:
- that using your freedom to choose negates what freedom is because it cancels out the original freedom you had
- the modern day desire to make private matters public
- silence as “shelter for power” vs “shelter from power”
- how labeling and putting a name to a negative experience may reinforce the experience
- when you try to tell personal stories and create a community, this ends up excluding people
Basically, it was hard not to agree with Brown, but I don’t know where these paradoxes leave me. I felt kind of like she was saying "silence is both everything and nothing", but I find myself looking for something more specific... I'm still asking “What is silence?”. I wonder if she is trying to show there aren’t concrete answers to these questions, but we should still explore them anyway.