New. Something like a hymn, a prayer, a work of devotion rather than philosophical analysis. A book that could be read (perhaps should be read) contemplatively rather than discursively, so that each sentence and word is allowed to work its way through the frantic motions of our brains into the quieter notions of our hearts, shaping a whole new and wonderful vision of the world. For it is all of creation, both visible and invisible, that Picard senses as emerging from the fertile womb of silence, about which adjectives like divine and holy and life-giving might properly be applied: 'it is a positive, a complete world unto itself. ' Whether Picard is speaking of God or man, language or music, the world of nature or of human artifice, silence is the lingua franca which he develops in images both aural and (even more strikingly) visual: 'the branches of the trees are like dark lines that have followed the movements of the silence; the leaves thickly cover the branches as if the silence wanted to conceal itself...The forest is like a great reservoir of silence out of which the silence trickles in a thin, slow stream and fills the air with its brightness. ' Picard's great prose poem, like the silence it depicts, 'does not fit into the world of profit and utility; it simply is. It seems to have no other purpose; it cannot be exploited. ' Perhaps herein also lies our highest praise for this remarkable book.
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