The End of Solitude

19Aug10

I just read this essay from over a year ago about how in this era of social networking, solitude is suddenly something to be feared. It’s an article I wanted to post so I can refer back to it. I’ve been feeling and thinking many of the things the author discusses, especially living in New York City and working with many people younger than myself who seem glued to Facebook and are often afraid to do things without consulting with at least one other person. It makes me wonder about creativity, and confidence, and having the ability to do anything “new” with certainty of one’s own mind. Is the end of solitude also the end of creative acts that require solitude? I also combat the boredom he’s talking about caused by TV, the Internet, etc. I wonder how this bodes for writers, composers, artists. Are we just going to allow ourselves to be constantly distracted from now on and have to learn to deal with it?

In another vein, I sometimes think about this new anti-solitude age, and I wonder if this collective connectionism resembles what the afterlife is like. Are our essential energies just dumped back into the cosmic pool of being to be recycled again into individual units when the time comes? I read once that Buddhists believe when a reincarnation occurs, there’s actually been a change in the energy that returns, and it’s not quite the person it was, and this makes me wonder about what happens in between (getting dumped back in the pool like a bucket of water and then taking new parts of the pool when getting dumped back out?). Is the time we’re living in now a mirror of joining that pool of everyone and everything? It’s kind of a nice idea. Maybe it means a collective moving forward for all of us.

I digress. Fascinating article. I found it through this blog by John Francisconi, who just wrote this great review of Richard Yates on The Rumpus.

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