This becomes a tough chapter to swallow as it goes on. In the beginning the silence is meant for the purpose of learning and discipleship. The monk is instructed to do the listening and the master is instructed to speak and teach - it's a relationship working the way it is intended to.
However, at the end of the paragraph the monk is instructed not to make jokes or cause laughter through his words. This becomes a little frustrating for me, as times of celebration and laughter would seem to be to be instructed biblically. I am holding out hope that a communal rule later in the text will give instruction in celebration and laughter together at festive times.
Applying this in a secular setting becomes challening as silence is increasingly difficult to come by. Even if we can eliminate talking there's still traffic, dogs, airplanes and more that will burst into our attention when we are living silently. Perhaps this is why I (more and more) believe that camping is a biblical mandate.
Slience is valuable enough to pay a high price for.