With a foreword by Nicholas Carr, author of the Pulitzer Prize–finalist The Shallows. Today, society embraces sharing like never before. Fueled by our dependence on mobile devices and social media, we have created an ecosystem of obsessive connection. Many of us now lead lives of strangely crowded isolation: we are always linked, but only shallowly so. The capacity to be alone, properly alone, is one of life’s subtlest skills. Real solitude is a powerful resource we can call upon—a crucial ingredient for a rich interior life. It inspires reflection, allows creativity to flourish, and improves our relationships with ourselves and, unexpectedly, with others. Idle hands can, in fact, produce the extraordinary. In living bigger and faster, we have forgotten the joys of silence, and undervalued how profoundly it can revolutionize our lives. This book is about discovering stillness inside the city, inside the crowd, inside our busy lives. With wit and energy, award-winning author Michael Harris weaves captivating true stories with reporting from the world’s foremost brain researchers, psychologists, and tech entrepreneurs to guide us toward a state of measured connectivity that balances quiet and companionship. Solitude is a beautiful and convincing statement on the transformative power of being alone.
Governor General's Award-winner Michael Harris explores the profound emotional and intellectual benefits of solitude, and how we may achieve it in our fast-paced world. The capacity to be alone--properly alone--is one of life's subtlest skills. Real solitude is a contented and productive state that garners tangible rewards: it allows us to reflect and recharge, improving our relationships with ourselves and, paradoxically, with others. Today, the zeitgeist embraces sharing like never before. Fueled by our dependence on online and social media, we have created an ecosystem of obsessive distraction that dangerously undervalues solitude. Many of us now lead lives of strangely crowded loneliness--we are ever-connected, but only shallowly so. Award-winning author Michael Harris examines why our experience of solitude has become so impoverished, and how we may grow to love it again in the frenzy of our digital landscape. Solitude is an optimistic and encouraging story about discovering true quiet inside the city, inside the crowd, inside our busy and urbane lives. Harris guides readers away from a life of ceaseless pings toward a state of measured connectivity, one that balances solitude and companionship. Rich with true stories about the life-changing power of solitude, and interwoven with reporting from the world's foremost brain researchers, psychologists and tech entrepreneurs, Solitude is a beautiful and convincing statement on the benefits of being alone.
‘An elegant, thoughtful book . . . beautifully expresses the importance and experience of liberation from the battery-hen life of constant connection and crowds.’ Daily Mail ‘A compelling study of the subtle ways in which modern life and technologies have transformed our behaviour and sense of self.’ Times Literary Supplement In a world of social media and smartphones, true solitude has become increasingly hard to find. In this timely and important book, award-winning writer Michael Harris reveals why our hyper-connected society makes time alone more crucial than ever. He delves into the latest neuroscience to examine the way innovations like Google Maps and Facebook are eroding our ability to be by ourselves. He tells the stories of the remarkable people – from pioneering computer scientists to great nineteenth-century novelists – who managed to find solitude in the most unexpected of places. And he explores how solitude can bring clarity and creativity to each of our inner lives. Urgent, eloquent and beautifully argued, Solitude might just change the way you think about being alone. ‘Speaks to a long-overdue conversation we still haven’t properly had in our society.’ Vice ‘A timely, elegant provocation to daydream and wander.’ Nathan Filer, author of The Shock of the Fall ‘The leading thinker about technology’s corrupting influence on our collective psyche.’ Newsweek ‘A poetic, contemplative journey into the benefits of solo sojourning.’ Elle
Reclaiming What We've Lost in a World of Constant Connection
Author: Michael John Harris
Category: Social Science
Soon enough, nobody will remember life before the Internet. What does this unavoidable fact mean? Those of us who have lived both with and without the crowded connectivity of online life have a rare opportunity. We can still recognize the difference between Before and After. We catch ourselves idly reaching for our phones at the bus stop. Or we notice how, midconversation, a fumbling friend dives into the perfect recall of Google. In this eloquent and thought-provoking book, Michael Harris argues that amid all the changes we're experiencing, the most interesting is the end of absence-the loss of lack. The daydreaming silences in our lives are filled; the burning solitudes are extinguished. There's no true "free time" when you carry a smartphone. Today's rarest commodity is the chance to be alone with your thoughts. Michael Harris is an award-winning journalist and a contributing editor at Western Living and Vancouvermagazines. He lives in Toronto, Canada.
Originally published in 1988, Anthony Storr's bestselling meditation on the creative individual's need for solitude has become a classic. A pre-eminent work in self-help and popular psychology literature, Solitude was seminal in challenging the psychological paradigm that “interpersonal relationships of an intimate kind are the chief, if not the only, source of human happiness.” Indeed, most self-help literature still places relationships at the center of human existence. Lucid and lyrical, Storr's book argues that solitude ranks alongside relationships in its impact on an individual’s well-being and productivity, as well as on society's progress and health. Citing numerous examples of brilliant scholars and artists—from Beethoven and Kant to Anne Sexton and Beatrix Potter—he argues that solitary activity is essential not only for geniuses, but often for the average person as well. For nearly three decades, readers have found inspiration and renewal in Storr's erudite, compassionate vision of the human experience—and the benefits and joy of solitude.
Seeking Wisdom in Extremes: A Year Alone in the Patagonia Wilderness
Author: Robert Kull
Publisher: New World Library
Years after losing his lower right leg in a motorcycle crash, Robert Kull traveled to a remote island in Patagonia's coastal wilderness with equipment and supplies to live alone for a year. He sought to explore the effects of deep solitude on the body and mind and to find the spiritual answers he'd been seeking all his life. With only a cat and his thoughts as companions, he wrestled with inner storms while the wild forces of nature raged around him. The physical challenges were immense, but the struggles of mind and spirit pushed him even further. Solitude: Seeking Wisdom in Extremes is the diary of Kull's tumultuous year. Chronicling a life distilled to its essence, Solitude is also a philosophical meditation on the tensions between nature and technology, isolation and society. With humor and brutal honesty, Kull explores the pain and longing we typically avoid in our frantically busy lives as well as the peace and wonder that arise once we strip away our distractions. He describes the enormous Patagonia wilderness with poetic attention, transporting the reader directly into both his inner and outer experiences.
In Koch's Solitude, both solitude and engagement emerge as primary modes of human experience, equally essential for human completion. This work draws upon the vast corpus of literary reflections on solitude, especially Lao Tze, Sappho, Plotinus, Augustine, Petrarch, Montaigne, Goethe, Shelley, Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman and Proust. "Koch uses the work of philosophers, historians, and writers, as well as texts such as the Bible, to show what solitude is and isn't, and what being alone can do to and for the individual. Interesting for its literary scope and its conclusions about all the good true solitude can bring us." —Booklist "Reading this book is like dipping into many minds, fierce and gentle. The author reveals his long study of great philosophers, and interprets their thoughts through the lens of his own experience with solitude. He traces our early brushes with solitude and the fear it can engender, then the craving for solitude that comes with full, adult lives." —NAPRA Review
Being Alone, whether by circumstance or choice, is not tragic. What is tragic, and so wasteful of the preciousness of life, is that too many of us think we are nothing alone. We seek our happiness and fulfillment, our answers, our very identity in others when we first must find it in ourselves - something we can only do alone. Celebrating Time Alone affirms that it's all right to be alone, to want to be alone, even to be lonely at times because the rewards of solitude can make the deprivations so worthwhile. In the fall of 1996, Lionel Fisher embarked on a cross-country journey in search of men and women who have stretched the envelope of their aloneness to Waldenesque proportions, achieving great emotional clarity in the process. He also spoke with their urban counterparts who, through necessity or choice, prefer to savor their individuality in smaller servings. In a writing style that is at once eloquent and down to earth, the author interweaves their real-life stories with his own insights and experiences to offer counsel, inspiration, and affirmation on living well alone.
InParty of One,investigative journalist Michael Harris closely examines the majority government of a prime minister essentially unchecked by the opposition and empowered by the general election victory of May 2011. Harris looks at Harper’s policies, instincts, and the often breathtaking gap between his stated political principles and his practices. Harris argues that Harper is more than a master of controlling information: he is a profoundly anti-democratic figure. In the F-35 debacle, the government’s sin wasn’t only keeping the facts from Canadians, it was in inventing them. Harper himself provided the key confabulations, and they are irrefutably (and unapologetically) on the public record from the last election. This is no longer a matter of partisan debate, but a fact Canadians must interpret for what it may signify. Harris illustrates how Harper has made war on every independent source of information in Canada since coming to power.Party of Oneis about a man with a well-defined and growing enemies list of those not wanted on the voyage: union members, scientists, diplomats, environmentalists, First Nations peoples, and journalists. Against the backdrop of a Conservative commitment to transparency and accountability, Harris exposes the ultra-secrecy, non-compliance, and dismissiveness of this prime minister. And with the Conservative majority in Parliament, the law is simple: what one man, the PM, says, goes.
Psychological Perspectives on Social Isolation, Social Withdrawal, and Being Alone
Author: Robert J. Coplan,Julie C. Bowker
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
This reference work offers a comprehensive compilation of current psychological research related to the construct of solitude Explores numerous psychological perspectives on solitude, including those from developmental, neuropsychological, social, personality, and clinical psychology Examines different developmental periods across the lifespan, and across a broad range of contexts, including natural environments, college campuses, relationships, meditation, and cyberspace Includes contributions from the leading international experts in the field Covers concepts and theoretical approaches, empirical research, as well as clinical applications
Four Seasons, Four Cities, and the Pleasures of Solitude
Author: Stephanie Rosenbloom
Category: Body, Mind & Spirit
A wise, passionate account of the pleasures of travelling solo In our increasingly frantic daily lives, many people are genuinely fearful of the prospect of solitude, but time alone can be both rich and restorative, especially when travelling. Through on-the-ground reporting and recounting the experiences of artists, writers, and innovators who cherished solitude, Stephanie Rosenbloom considers how being alone as a traveller--and even in one's own city--is conducive to becoming acutely aware of the sensual details of the world--patterns, textures, colors, tastes, sounds--in ways that are difficult to do in the company of others. Alone Time is divided into four parts, each set in a different city, in a different season, in a single year. The destinations--Paris, Istanbul, Florence, New York--are all pedestrian-friendly, allowing travelers to slow down and appreciate casual pleasures instead of hurtling through museums and posting photos to Instagram. Each section spotlights a different theme associated with the joys and benefits of time alone and how it can enable people to enrich their lives--facilitating creativity, learning, self-reliance, as well as the ability to experiment and change. Rosenbloom incorporates insights from psychologists and sociologists who have studied solitude and happiness, and explores such topics as dining alone, learning to savor, discovering interests and passions, and finding or creating silent spaces. Her engaging and elegant prose makes Alone Time as warmly intimate an account as the details of a trip shared by a beloved friend--and will have its many readers eager to set off on their own solo adventures.
This academic analysis explores social media, specifically examining its influence on the cultural, political, and economic organization of our society and the role capitalism plays within its domain. • Explores the use of blogs, Facebook, and Twitter in revolutionary political action and the effects of "viral" campaigns on political culture • Uncovers the truth behind piracy infringements on popular cultural industries • Reveals the hidden factors driving the rapid expansion of social media • Discusses how capitalism affects the development of social media • Examines how social media shares characteristics with and differs from mass media
An Illustrated Journal of Four Seasons in Solitude
Author: Barbara Bash
Publisher: Ktd Publications
In this colorful journal, writer-illustrator Barbara Bash has re-created her chronicles of meditation and contemplative wandering during a series of solitary country retreats. Combining beautifully hand-calligraphed journal notes with watercolor-and-pencil drawings, she captures exquisite moments of magic in the natural environment: a dragonfly's brief pause, a surprised deer in tall grass, a lumbering skunk's visit, the woods at twilight. Nature lovers, gardeners, and anyone who enjoys solitary country walks will recognize in Barbara a kindred spirit and will find hours of pleasure in these pages.
For centuries, ancient cultures embarked on rites of passage to gain entrance to the spiritual realms and attain self-knowledge. Now international lecturer and healer Denise Linn and Meadow Linn draw on their Native American roots, as well as the teachings of other cultures, to create a carefully crafted spiritual program for anyone wishing to venture on a retreat or create a uniquely personal Quest of his or her own. This practical, engaging book will show you how to: • Discover your life’s purpose • Find mystery at the core of your life • Release limiting beliefs about yourself • Call for a vision • Harness the power of the Sacred Circle • Confront and free yourself from fears • Heal emotional wounds • Develop peace of mind This book gives you the necessary tools to prepare for a Vision Quest that will take you to the center of your soul.
A Contemporary Hermit's Experience of Solitude and Silence
Author: Verena Schiller
Publisher: Hymns Ancient and Modern Ltd
Category: Biography & Autobiography
As many people face the prospect of enforced change in their lives as western economies falter, this account of a life of radical simplicity freely chosen offers gentle, life-giving wisdom for our times. A Simplified Life tells the story of what made a young, Cambridge-educated woman embark on a solitary life, literally on the edge of the world with only a simple hut as protection against the elements, and how that experience continues to nourish and enrich her today.
A deeply perceptive and beautifully written cultural history of shyness, from one of our most astute observers of the everyday Shyness is a pervasive human trait: even most extroverts know what it is like to stand tongue-tied at the fringe of an unfamiliar group or flush with embarrassment at being the unwelcome center of attention. And yet the cultural history of shyness has remained largely unwritten—until now. With incisiveness, passion, and humor, Joe Moran offers an eclectic and original exploration of what it means to be a “shrinking violet.” Along the way, he provides a collective biography of shyness through portraits of such shy individuals as Charles Darwin, Charles Schulz, Garrison Keillor, and Agatha Christie, among many others. In their stories often both heartbreaking and inspiring and through the myriad ways scientists and thinkers have tried to explain and “cure” shyness, Moran finds hope. To be shy, he decides, is not simply a burden; it is also a gift, a different way of seeing the world that can be both enriching and inspiring.
A Blueprint for Canada's Future Well-being and Prosperity
Author: Graham Lowe,Frank Graves
Publisher: University of Toronto Press
Category: Business & Economics
Canada's future prosperity is of utmost concern to citizens, industry leaders and policy makers. Using original public opinion research from EKOS, Redesigning Work argues that improving people's jobs and workplaces can unlock the potential to strengthen Canada's economy and improve the well-being of Canadians. Graham Lowe and Frank Graves are two of Canada's leading experts on work and public opinion. In Redesigning Work the authors provide a blueprint for the future of work in Canada by identifying practical ways to make work more motivating, rewarding and productive. The authors provide fuel for employers, workers, policy makers, HR professionals, and NGOs to combat the negative trends many Canadians associate with their future economic prospects. The book paints an optimistic picture of the future of work by addressing job stress, work-life balance, skill use and engagement.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton—along with her comrade-in-arms, Susan B. Anthony—was one of the most important leaders of the movement to gain American women the vote. But, as Vivian Gornick argues in this passionate, vivid biographical essay, Stanton is also the greatest feminist thinker of the nineteenth century. Endowed with a philosophical cast of mind large enough to grasp the immensity that women's rights addressed, Stanton developed a devotion to equality uniquely American in character. Her writing and life make clear why feminism as a liberation movement has flourished here as nowhere else in the world. Born in 1815 into a conservative family of privilege, Stanton was radicalized by her experience in the abolitionist movement. Attending the first international conference on slavery in London in 1840, she found herself amazed when the conference officials refused to seat her because of her sex. At that moment she realized that "In the eyes of the world I was not as I was in my own eyes, I was only a woman." At the same moment she saw what it meant for the American republic to have failed to deliver on its fundamental promise of equality for all. In her last public address, "The Solitude of Self," (delivered in 1892), she argued for women's political equality on the grounds that loneliness is the human condition, and that each citizen therefore needs the tools to fight alone for his or her interests. Vivian Gornick first encountered "The Solitude of Self" thirty years ago. Of that moment Gornick writes, "I hardly knew who Stanton was, much less what this speech meant in her life, or in our history, but it I can still remember thinking with excitement and gratitude, as I read these words for the first time, eighty years after they were written, ‘We are beginning where she left off.' " The Solitude of Self is a profound, distilled meditation on what makes American feminism American from one of the finest critics of our time.
When she was twenty-seven, Nell Stevens—a lifelong aspiring novelist—won an all-expenses-paid fellowship to go anywhere in the world to write. Would she choose a glittering metropolis, a romantic village, an exotic paradise? Not exactly. Nell picked Bleaker Island, a snowy, windswept pile of rock in the Falklands. Other than sheep, penguins, paranoia, and the weather, there aren’t many distractions, but as Nell soon discovers, total isolation and 1,085 calories a day are far from ideal conditions for literary production. With deft humor, this memoir traces her island days and slowly reveals the life and people she has left behind in pursuit of her writing. It seems that there is nowhere she can run—an island or the pages of her notebook—to escape the big questions of love, art, and, ambition.