The Impossibility of Solitude

William Deresiewicz, in her article “The End of Solitude” explains that solitude is “the act of being alone” and that “the camera has created a culture of celebrity; the computer is creating a culture of connectivity.” In other words, People are in constant need to learn about new information as well as sharing information about themselves. But is also a way to cope with the new world of technology, if are not aware of the trending information, we don’t have much to talk about with others, neither through chat nor in person.

To be able to analyze and understand solitude and its relationship with news knowledge, the class was asked to do a 48-hour news blackout.

During this past 2 days that I been avoiding any type of news through Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, TV, radio and even in conversations with friends and family members. This experience has been somewhat difficult. I it started this Monday through Wednesday morning. Immediately after I decided not to open any social media, I was coming up in my head with reasons that would explain my need to check them. I decided to take it entirely form my phone’s main screen to avoid the temptation from making me cheat. Since my family lives in Venezuela and there’s a lot of news censorship over there, people use social media and chats as a platform to be informed. Which to me it meant that I had to ignore most of the messages sent by the people from there. This situation caused me anxiety for not been able to know what was going on. I would constantly unlock my phone, thinking that I had a notification or a message, but I still couldn’t check them.

I also use the news and social media as a break from studying; however, because of news blackout I started binge watching series that I would never have watched otherwise. I was trying to compensate for my “time of solicitude.” Even while eating I realized I needed some sort of companionship. I also noticed it was hard to communicate with people, since I couldn’t know much of what was going on. So, the conversations were restricted to, how was their day? And what they will do the next day?

Before doing this experiment, I thought I enjoyed being alone. I realized that the only time I am in solitude is when I am in my room reading and studying, before going to sleep, if I go to the gym by myself and in the shower. But as Deresiewicz mentioned in HIS essay this society is in constant fear of being alone. Therefore, people not only use technology for communication and as a source of information, but also to compensate for the time they spend in solitude, which explains my anxiety and my use of TV series to avoid being alone.

This extra time allowed me to think more of the past, when I didn’t have a phone and technology wasn’t a priority. I could write a journal every night and understand better the information and my surroundings, free of distractions. This time also allowed me to understand that knowledge of information is important, but people shouldn’t let it control their lives, as Deresiewicz said solicitude is necessary “to secure the integrity of the self as well as to explore it.”


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