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A photo of the artist Blake Ward working in his studio.

Perfect Solitude

What is wrong with solitude and why is everybody these days so afraid of it?

It seems as though technology is leading us away from ourselves and others.

“We share therefore we are.”[1]

According to Sherry Turkle we use social networks because it gives us the guarantee that we will have three things:

– The ability to pay attention to only that which we wish to

– The fantasy that we will always be heard

– And finally the idea that we will never have to be alone [2]

So we send another text or we share something on a social network, but the result is that we actually isolate ourselves from the rest of the world.

It is a fantasy of controlling our environment, or being heard and of being connected.

Yet what or who is it that we are connected to?

If you think about it, we are dialoguing with machines and other people’s ideas of their perfect beings and their perfect reactions, but these machines cannot feel empathy, or joy or love.

They are merely passing on another’s fantasy of a world that doesn’t really exist, of a life that is some sort of parallel existence.

Our real world has real people in it that can look you in the eye and respond.

It has real human beings that feel things and react in the truth of the moment.

The fact is that we are perpetuating our sense of loneliness because we aren’t using our social skills.

We are merely presenting the image of what we want others to see, or reacting after having thought it through instead of living life with real human beings interacting in real time.

We are projecting a life that isn’t really ours.

As with the blog that I wrote regarding the Instagram generation, where I spoke of how we are creating our memories impeccably tailored to our ideas of a perfect person and a perfect life, I wonder if all this technology is actually an improvement on our lives.

We eventually find that we are not prepared to react appropriately, in the moment, because we are not practicing our social skills where we can be our true selves.

Are we becoming someone else or is this who we really are?

Are we building memories of how we want things to be or are we remembering things how they really were back then?

While the social networks are brilliant and have opened an amazing world where we can all be connected, are we really connecting?

I am able to reach all of you through this blog, but can you hear me?

Knock twice if you can!

I see danger in where all this is taking us as a society.

Being alone can be a beautiful thing.

I think the young people who are growing up with all this technology are the most at risk because they might not learn to appreciate a moment of solitude.

There is nothing to fear in facing oneself and having a little chat with all those ghosts and demons!

In fact, as an artist, these moments are precious because they lead us to those moments of ‘flow’ when we create and time stands still, or rather moves so quickly that we forget to eat or sleep.

These moments of perfect solitude, when art takes over and the world stands by…are precious.

 

  1. http://www.ted.com/talks/sherry_turkle_alone_together/transcript
  2. http://www.ted.com/talks/sherry_turkle_alone_together/transcript

By Boky and Blake

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