The Fear of Being Alone

It is clear that social media has become a huge part of many people’s lives. Posting statuses about your everyday routine, who you meet, where you go and what you look like. Most, if not all, are guilty of this new trend. But is this internet connectivity becoming too much of a good thing?

William Deresiewicz’s article “The End of Solitude,” describes the shift in society due to the advancement of technology. Being a celebrity and also being someone who has connections, are two ways to becoming very well known by many people. Our age of postmodernism is defined by visibility. Humans in this day and age want to be recognized and connected to each other. We are by nature, social creatures. We are supposed to communicate with others. However, there has to be an equal balance between socializing and solitude.

Visibility is validating us. We become real to ourselves by being seen by others. We are living in relation to others. Constantly having our cell phones glued to our hands and surfing through endless apps on our smart phones where we are all connected to each other. Seclusion and isolation are disappearing. Even though you may be alone, the technology keeps you connected.

Technology has been good to us for this reason. But too much of a good thing is never a good thing. Technology is taking away our privacy and concentration and ability to just be alone. By having solitude, you have self-discovery. Being alone in your thoughts allows you to examine yourself and come to grips with who you really are. It also allows you to quiet your mind.

The problem is people are scared to be alone. Loneliness in our society is no longer defined as the absence of company. It is defined as the grief over that absence. In Deresiewicz words, “Our greatest fear is not submersion by the mass, but isolation from the herd.”

Today’s young people lack a sense of their own depths and the value of keeping them hidden. Solitude enables us to explore and become secure with ourselves.  When so many people are succumbing to this trend, it’s hard to be the one to break away from it. You can only save yourself. Deresiewicz says, “It takes willingness to be unpopular. Those who would find solitude must not be afraid to stand alone.”

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