Reading Blog 21 – November 20, 2015

In today’s reading, William Deresiewicz talks about solitude and how today’s generation lacks a true sense of being alone. Deresiewicz starts off by saying how solitude used to be something that was valued in the Romantic and Modernist periods. Writers and thinkers of past generations believed that solitude was good for your soul, and in some ways it was even seen as heroic. Solitude was a source of self-reflection and wisdom. However, as time went on, people were trying to combat boredom, which is closely associated with loneliness. As people invented technology to combat boredom, they developed these technologies to combat loneliness as well. The primary technology to combat loneliness is the internet. Through the internet, people are given the opportunity to connect with each other constantly. Eventually, something that meant so much to the writers and thinkers of the past was slowly being eradicated. Once highly valued, isolation was no longer an important quality to young adults of this generation. They try to avoid loneliness by constantly being in close contact to someone. Deresiewicz believes that young people of this generation feel as if “they can make themselves fully known to one another” (315). Rather than discovering who they are on their own, people in this day and age rely on others to validate their identity. They find their worth in the amount of likes they receive, or the amount of online attention they have. Today’s generation vastly differs from the past in the way that they discover who they are, and where they find their worth.

Links:

  1. “Lonliness in the Age of Social Networking” – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/anna-caltabiano/loneliness-in-the-age-of-_b_5508767.html
  2. “The Relationship Between Social Media and Self Worth” – http://thesocialu101.com/the-relationship-between-social-media-and-self-worth/
  3. “In Praise of Solitude” – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carol-hoenig/social-media-culture_b_1193084.html

Discussion Questions:

  1. If we continue with this idea of the splintered self, can parts of a person value solitude and the others not?
  2. What does the lack of solitude in our culture say about American values?
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