MIT’s Infinite Corridor — Photo credit: Kunal Mukherjee licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

by David M. Sykes, Vice Chair, The Quiet Coalition

“With more quiet time, more privacy, more stillness, we have an opportunity to think about who we are, as individuals and as a society,” writes Alan Lightman.  Lightman is a physicist at MIT—easily one of the most frenetic, mentally stimulating environments on planet earth. You feel the vibration when you step into the huge domed entry and stroll down the “infinite corridor.” So much energy!

But this physicist relishes the sudden quiet of a pandemic to wonder about how quiet and isolation can — and often have — stimulated innovation. More than that, they stimulate reflection and insight. The opposite of what Henry David Thoreau deplored: our desperate pace.

If you’re looking for some peace amidst the sudden quiet and enforced social isolation, this essay is a good place to start!