48 hours blackout

Christopher Meneses Lopez

#3765410

[What happened during your news blackout?]

In examining the extent to which broadcast media informs our daily decision making processes and how the mass dissemination of information underpins our daily activities, in consciously isolating myself from otherwise ubiquitous outlets of news telecast and broadcasting, I’ve come to understand that there is this stark duality that is present at the epicenter of this endeavor. Though sheltering oneself from the ceaseless bombardment of information may yield positive results given the acquisition of a renewed perspective as a direct consequence of “partial solitude,” it can also contrive sentiments of alienation and estrangement from one’s greater surroundings. Concisely put, as a collective, those in the vicinity of contemporary media have at their disposal a seemingly innumerable amount of sources pertaining to what is happening in the world, yet, with this excess of information, we may find ourselves feeling somewhat desensitized and apathetic about the events that transpire around us. [How do these insights relate to the points that Deresiewicz raises in his essay?] 

Likewise, within contemporary society, we are currently experiencing the collapse of space and time in that the seemingly instantaneous dissemination of information has effectively obscured the role of distance and separation in our daily interactions. Given that the public and private spheres we have come to collectively acknowledge as disparate social spaces have gradually amalgamated into this intangible social space, we can no longer clearly delineate where the distinction between our own personal conceptions ends and where popular perception begins. Within highly interconnected social context, we are invariably influenced by what we see in the media because it is our primary connection to the places we cannot readily perceive given their physical and social distance from our own immediate environment. In alienating one’s self from popular media, there is this almost instant anxiety that sets in from not knowing what is going on around us, in a very significant sense, we have been conditioned to feel as though we “need” to know what is going on around us in order to properly behave. Likewise, there is also the indelible impact social media and mediums such as the Internet have on our personal identities. [How do these insights relate to the points that Deresiewicz raises in his essay?] 

Though we may take comfort in this conception of our internal life as belonging exclusively to us, the external lens of our onlookers through social media has increasingly influenced this intimate understanding of our own autonomous identity. William Deresiewicz, in his poignant piece entitled “The End of Solitude” (2009), he examines the aforesaid notion of self-reflexive contemplation wherein we no longer understand ourselves outside of the public persona we portray on social media. Deresiewicz succinctly expounds upon this idea of validation via the lens of others on social media and how the advent of popular “celebrity” accompanied by the growing interconnectivity as promoted by technological modalities has altered our introspective faculties. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph] Moreover, he argues that, due to this unprecedented degree of “visibility” within our social interaction, physical or technological, there is this extrication of what he describes as “solitude.” Here, solitude denotes the individual’s capacity to properly operate outside of the public sphere; essentially, it is this idea that solitude has been obviated from our daily lives and this has had significant consequences for our individual understanding of self. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph] At the epicenter of his piece, similar to the general purpose of this exercise, there is this focalizing question of individuality, autonomy, anonymity, and connectivity; have we lost the ability to understand ourselves without the validation of others? Have we willing denied ourselves of the inherent virtues of solitude? Though these questions have no real, simple answer given their probing nature, something has changed amongst us, the way in which we understand ourselves and the world around us is now mediated by a mass communication. Henceforth, what this means for us as a collective, in the long run, is up to debate. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph] In this exercise, I have learned that diverting one’s attention form what essentially constitutes our identity introduces a conventional insight that we may be slowly losing, that we can only truly understand ourselves once we step back and assess our own personal motivations, desires, and actions.

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