When was the last time you wanted to just be alone? I mean completely alone; no cell phone, television, or Internet. In today’s highly social society, the answer to that question may be never. Many people used to relish in solitude. Almost all of the great profits experienced their most significant religious encounters while in complete silence and privacy. However, in our current world, solitude is feared. We have become so linked in and connected that solitude is next to impossible to attain. Even when we are alone, we have cell phones to text with, the Internet to access social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and even games to occupy our minds. The only time we may actually be alone with our thoughts is in the shower which has been said to be a time when people are very creative. I believe that is because there is nothing else to distract them from their thoughts.
How did we get to this point? How did we go from being human beings who interacted when they chose to or when it was necessary to a society which functions as a pack? Apparently solitude was highly valued until the Romantic period which began to place a great emphasis friendship. A huge aspect of this time period was applying significance to great friendships but even then this meant a bond between two people. As we moved into the modern era, city and suburban life literally brought people closer together. People began to interact as a society on a daily basis. Then we moved into the postmodern or current era. The creation of the Internet, cell phones, and social media launched our world into one interconnected, social society. Now a days we validate ourselves by our visibility. How many people are watching me? How many people know me? It has been said that the goal in today’s society is “simply to become known, to turn oneself into a sort of miniature celebrity” and social media allows us to do just that. In this new mindset, solitude has been equated with loneliness which does not value alone time but grieves over the absence of company. William Deresiewicz, author of The End of Solitude, says “the current psychological model is that of the networked or social mind.” If this is true, will solitude become extinct in the modern world?