This song is an insightful look at how the world is changing – it’s pointing out the irony of how this planet is becoming (has become) more and more focussed on flashing lights and loud sounds. The most important thing to take away from the song I believe comes from the third verse: “People talking without speaking, People hearing without listening, People writing songs that voices never share. And no one dared Disturb the sound of silence.”
It’s highlighting how modernity has taken us in a direction that no one really cares about – or more importantly – pays attention to the content of what we both hear and say. And yes, that applies to everyone. It’s funny how this is relevant more than ever in our modern age – you can apply this lyric most well and truly to Social Media and the internet.
People will be right next to each other “saying things” on their phones to people, but literally speaking nothing. They say things to everyone except the people immediately surrounding them. In the same way we are hearing things back over the internet, while not listening at all to the things around us. Simon and Garfunkel would have originally intended this to apply to televisions since it was written over fifty years ago (over 1963 and 64).