About the Importance and the Nature of the Silence Game, 1930
Our world today is full of noises. Even music seems to spurn harmony and tend to 'noisymeness'. Indeed it increases its volume in decibels to the extent of endangering hearing. This was not always so. Until recently the opposite was true. Silence was essential to the human soul; children instinctively sought it, because they loved it. It is interesting to read what Dr. Montessori said about it in one of her courses, in 1930.
To eliminate sounds or noise - that is to have silence - only one thing is necessary: that there be
no movement. This is a condition. But certainly silence is a very difficult thing, indeed impossible, because to obtain it there must be an absolute lack of movement. There can be grades of it, however, just as there are grades of sounds and noises.
By silence, the finality at which we can aim as an immediate interest of research, is generally
meant the maximum silence which can be obtained; for example in a class or at a gathering (such as ours) where there are many people, they, by being still, little by little provoke a silence which becomes more deep the more the people persuade themselves that they must not move and control all their movements. In other words they repress them, a thing that generally many people, children for instance, supposedly cannot do. But we know that small children are able to inhibit all their movements if they themselves have already had an education of the movements such as ours in which they have received indications in controlling movements, a process which prepares them for this last step: complete inhibition.
As teachers know, the most difficult thing is not to move. It is more difficult not to move than to
move well. For this reason the children must have done long exercises in moving well and in controlling their motions before being able to succeed in this sort of triumph of the will which inhibits every voluntary movement. Then...