Solitude is the state of being secluded from the public or other people. It is the contrary of what the contemporary self would demand, to be known to the world and if not the whole world, to the few people surrounding the livelihood, including the social networking. The author calls the state of being anonymous a contemporary terror. This chapter describes how the modern world today and its entire accompaniment have taken away the privacy and the ability of individuals to be alone.
Technology, being an innovation of the postmodern times has increased the relations between people, for instance text messaging. The author describes the teenager who sent over 3,000 text messages in a month that amounts to one text message in every 10 minutes in a day. This raises the questions like why anyone would want to be alone. This question can be answered better by analyzing the religious dimension. Solitude is seen traditionally as a societal value. It is said that one cannot hear God while in communication with others. The norm of the human is to have a communal engagement but what refreshes that norm is the constant contact or encounter with God which only happens in solitude. Religious solitude enables one to meditate and correct his/her ways in an effort to strengthen their moral habit.
Romanticism and Protestantism have two views of solitude. Romanticism secularized it and made it literal while Protestantism democratized it and made it more of a figure or something physical as was achieved by Rousseau and Wordsworth. Modernism however contradicted in the notion of self being the society relationship builder. The modernist friendship was found to be better that the Romantic friendship. The inclusion of human masses brings the idea of authenticity where the belief is the best relationship is on e with self since there are few modernist friendships or marriages.
The post modern era characterized by technology and communication brought the people together. The growth of home and discovery of telephones has enhances contact between people. This contact was enhanced by the arrival of internet. Internet has enabled those living in marginalized areas to communicate with each other, from the sending of emails to text messages and facebook picture postings to following strangers in twitter. The goal of every individual is to become known or become a celebrity. Everybody is equipped with the means to prevent being alone from the traditional days, boredom and loneliness was something envied for.
Through losing solitude, the victims have lost the self examination that was termed as the centre of spiritual life by the Romantic and the Puritans and the Modernists. The related need for constituent reading has also been lost. Reading is now perusing pages and skipping unnecessary material and not the encounter with the second self that comes with the silence of the mental solitude. The author denotes that no real moral, scientific, personal or social excellence can be achieved without solitude. However the author also clearly speculates that solitude is not an option for everyone nor is it easy. People are afraid of the dark and only the willing are able to choose unpopularity. The author also denotes that solitude however comes with a few wounded feelings like being impolite and losing friendship, but stresses that whoever finds solitude should never be afraid of standing alone.
Solitude was treasured in the traditional times since it was considered the theme of human relationship with God. It was then a means of self examination and growth, but this has changed with the discovery of technology and communication that has brought people together and erased the mentality of upholding solitude to enable self growth.