We’re more connected than ever, for which we’ve paid the price of solitude. We’ve lost our ability to be alone (and distraction-free) without feeling lonely. Why is that?
Yes, it’s a great time to be alive. We’re more connected than ever. But to gain this connectivity, we’ve paid the price of solitude, and I’m afraid we’ve given it away without realising its value. It seemed like a good choice at first, but what we thought was a bargain turned out to be a rip-off. I discuss the political and personal implications of our lost ability to be alone without feeling lonely.
What I Learned About Solitude
- David Foster Wallace spoke of the importance of solitude, and the dangers of instant gratification (we didn’t listen)
- We’re now constantly connected, 100% of the time, to everyone. And in a lot of ways, that’s great. But we’re also becoming increasingly familiar with the dark side of our culture
- We’re more connected than ever, but in the process, we’ve definitely paid a price, politically and personally
- Politically, we’re more divided than ever – the world is embroiled in ideological warfare. On a personal note, connectedness has come at the cost of our alone time. It seems to me that we’ve lost the ability to being alone without feeling lonely
- Some people have developed phobias around this – a specific anxiety disorder called Autophobia (fear of being alone)
- Like everything else, being alone requires practice. Start today!
- One solution is to stare at paintings. Don’t just glance at them. Unplug all distractions and stare a a painting for an hour, study it, open yourself to it
- The benefits of solitude are plenty! You’ll learn invaluable things about yourself, face your fears and anxieties
- And if nothing else, you’ll get better sleep at night
“When you feel like the purpose of your life is to gratify yourself and get things for yourself , there’s this other part of you that’s almost hungry for silence and quiet and thinking really hard about the same thing for maybe half an hour (instead of thirty seconds), that doesn’t get fed at all. And it makes itself felt in the body in a kind of dread.” ~ David Foster Wallace (Author)
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