Tom Toremans in conversation with Bartaku

Does it even exist? Not sure. Should consult diary. But trusting my own judgment, I would say: “no.” So at least it is not a real word for me. What makes a word real? Its being recorded in a dictionary, which only happens after its usage. So let me use the word and make it real: First: I recognize it as part of a recorded word. “Resilient.” “Re” as in something repeated. Or “against.” As in “resist.” Resilience/Resistance? Resilience: resistance to forces that try to destroy or disturb. Like time. Or wind. Or water. So what is the “silience” in “resilience”? It could be a misspelled “silence.” Something that is resilient resists external forces in silence. It survives through its structure, its fabric, or its organization. Structures, fabric and organizations are silent.

Atoms, for example, hold objects together in a silent way (Miles…). Objects are resilient in that they resist gravity pulling them apart. The resilience comes from the fabric of atoms; and neurons, and neutrinos, and Higgs particles. And ever smaller. And all is silence. Imagine the silence inside the wood of a table on the scale of the Higgs particle. The particle holds mass together by working in silence. This silent labour makes things resilient. (Intermezzo: what if this labour is actually not silent? If it does produce sound? The kind of sound we cannot hear? Like the sound of the moving planets. The music of the spheres.)

Second : “Silient” could be a misspelled “salience.” “Salient” features of something are things that distinguish one thing from another. For example: a salient feature of grass is that it is green. What is typical for a certain object. Maybe that which makes an object resilient is its salient feature? For example: the salient feature of granite is its hardness, which makes it resilient. Or the salient feature of post-industrial capitalism is that it does not have a hierarchical structure, but is de-centered - which makes it resilient. (This also goes for resistance movements like Anonymous, of course).

Or maybe “silient” is a scientific word for “silly.”

Maybe this brainstorm is just that: silly.

Or better: silient.

But at least, maybe,

this silient brainstorm will trigger a brain.

After - “Silient”: A written-on-paper account by Tom Toremans answering Bartaku's question “Could you please describe what you observe when seeing this word (shown on paper): “Silient.”

July 19, 2012 - Altlengbach, Austria

Tom Toremans teaches English literature and literary theory at HU Brussel and KU Leuven.