In terms of its meaning, I am not sure about the origin of this Simon & Garfunkel song, but after listening to this version by Disturbed, I have to think it has something to do with the alienation and disconnection humans, mostly in the Western world, have from each other. The feeling of being alone with an inner voice screaming I am here but silence all around. We each know that the other is yearning for connection but yet silently continue about our affairs — suffering.
According to Wikipedia:
Garfunkel once summed up the song’s meaning as “the inability of people to communicate with each other, not particularly internationally but especially emotionally, so what you see around you are people unable to love each other.”Wikiwan
I watched the video a few times, pored over the lyrics and realized that the song could be used as a commentary on our culture and the current overuse of our smart devices — our iPhones and iPads, and MacBooks.
In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone,
‘Neath the halo of a street lamp,
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence.
Perhaps that flash of neon light is the collective flash from millions of iPhone screens lit up. Then another part of the lyrics cemented that imagery for me.
And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made.
Maybe Simon & Garfunkel were prescient.