The philosophers knew it first. “Silence is the element in which great things fashion themselves together,” wrote Thomas Carlyle in 1831. Since then, science has redefined the word. When we rest, our brain’s default mode network lights up. Exposure to the broken and absurd primes our learning faculties. Voiceless animals show rich, culture-like behavior.

Speech turns out to be the tip of an iceberg, and some of our most dearly held beliefs submerged. In a world filling with speech, will we end up missing its absence?

Welcome to “The Unspoken.”

Lead art from George Marks / Stringer / Getty Images