William Deresiewicz


In the article “The End of Solitude” William Deresiewicz’s makes a valid argument on how it is nearly impossible to feel alone in today’s world. With a simple click of a button we have the whole world at our fingertips. He states that social media like Facebook, Twitter etc. gives us a chance to be recognized by others and results in securing our self-esteem. I see this with not only my peers but with young adults all over the world who seem to base their self worth on the amount of likes they receive on a picture they posted. I have never been a big user of social media, my parents were against me having a Myspace when all the “cool” kids had one, they did not let me create a Facebook when it became popular amongst my peers in school. They always seemed to have a negative outlook on social media use because they claimed it was too much exposure for a young girl. Thanks to them I am not dependent on social media as a form of entertainment.

Deresiewicz article speaks of all the tendencies that technology creates in people. As I walk through my college campus I see young men and women glued to their phone screens, laptop screens, iPad screens etc. Out of curiosity I peek into what they might be doing and it is always texting, or looking as posts made by others on Twitter, or scrolling through pictures on Snapchat and videos on Instagram. Deresiewicz is right when he states that we are all connected, even though it is not a genuine connection. Everything we see is the surface of what others want their image to portray. We connect with others but it is superficial. This is why I have always looked at social media in a negative way. My friends wake up and go to sleep on their phones or computers making sure they did not miss anything that might have been posted by other “friends” or celebrities. I have always refused to be that way. It proves Deresiewicz right in his statement that there is little time for intimacy and no time for solitude. It also is an example of how they are maintaining the “imaginative presence” of others through technology.

Although I have always had limited use of social media through nurture and choice, not having access to any form of news for 48 hours was quite a change. I believe that news is a necessary intrusion of our solitude when it comes to weather forecasts, or global and political updates. Any other form of social news such as “Kim Kardashian wore fur” is something we could all definitely live without. As I began the disconnection, I immediately failed within the first couple hours by checking the weather forecast on my phone and had to start all over again. Once I was a couple hours in, I began to realize how deep my reliance on news is in my every day decisions and thoughts. The news shapes my perspective on things that happen in every day life. I have come to realize that my perspective has changed from the moment I read Deresiewicz article till after the news blackout. I thought I was exempt from the inability to be at peace with solitude, but now I realize that I was wrong. With out access to news, I felt anxious and uninformed. I felt unaware of my surroundings. Instead of feeling idle, I was overcome with the feeling of ignorance and disconnection which Deresiewicz argues typically happens with those who disconnect from the world. Only those who can truly be at peace with loneliness and boredom achieve one of the greatest capacities one could hold.


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