William Deresiewicz: The End of Solitude

Are we still afraid of the dark?  Yes, writes William Deresiewicz in his sharp critique of a contemporary West that is spoiled by overabundant material wealth.  But our biggest fear is called solitude.  Describe that noun as you will – the state of being alone, by one’s self, or not in the physical or virtual presence of others – solitude has come to mean everything that a successful modern life should avoid.  Inexpensive WIFI and its companions, smartphones and social media apps, have molded our perception of being to the point that, if we are not connected to everyone else at any given moment, something is wrong.  Just how wrong depends on how many steps we are up the social ladder.  But who cares if we are so afraid of solitude?  Aren’t governments and corporations working day and night to assure the resilience of hyperconnected social media networks, so that no one ever has to experience solitude again?  We should all care, argues Deresiewicz, because solitude is the only path to becoming a fully-formed human being, one able to think and act for her- or himself.  Come welcome William Deresiewicz to our show and let’s ask him about the exorbitant value humans have attributed to solitude over the ages.

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