The End of Solitude

The great contemporary terror is anonymity. But at what cost?

We blog, Twitter and gather Facebook friends like children once collected marbles, all in an effort to share ourselves and stay hyper-connected. In an era when we are never alone, the great contemporary terror is anonymity. But at what cost, asks William Deresiewicz in the Chronicle Review. Technology is driving the ideal of solitude out of existence, and with it, our capacity for introspection. Without solitude, Deresiewicz argues, it is impossible to really excel in any realm, be it personal, social, artistic, philosophical, scientific or moral. Solitude isn’t completely out of reach, mind you. It just takes a willingness to be unpopular, he says. Of course, anyone who’s tried to fend off those Facebook friend requests already knows that.

The Chronicle Review