Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Solitude

In his article The End of Solitude, William Deresiewicz writes :

Technology is taking away our privacy and our concentration, but it is also taking away our ability to be alone. Though I shouldn't say taking away. We are doing this to ourselves; we are discarding these riches as fast as we can.

I could not agree more. There are some holdouts who are continue to stay away from whole-scale immersion in media that provides constant connectivity. They still use their phones and computers as utility and not entertainment devices, they are able to get from the Internet what adds value to their lives without allowing the virtual to take over the real.

But this is increasingly a rare species and often older in age. Sooner than later, they will become extinct. Most young people of today as Deresiewicz correctly points out have never known solitude and as such have use or little appreciation for it. His quote from Emerson explains why solitude is so important for youth :

Solitude, Emerson said, "is to genius the stern friend." "He who should inspire and lead his race must be defended from traveling with the souls of other men, from living, breathing, reading, and writing in the daily, time-worn yoke of their opinions." One must protect oneself from the momentum of intellectual and moral consensus — especially, Emerson added, during youth.

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