– Republic of Noise: The loss of solitude in schools and culture by Diane Senechal
Friday, January 20, 2012
Shhhhh, I can't hear myself think
"The cell phone relieves us of the obligation to face those around us, but also prevents us from being by ourselves. This is not to say that past generations were staunch in their solitude; it was probably always difficult to go off on one’s own, perhaps more difficult in some ways that it is now. But they did not have so many societies to grab, so many messages blinking and jangling throughout the day. When two people said goodbye after meeting, they would walk their separate ways without being able to talk to anyone else immediately. They could reflect on their meeting with the person, prepare themselves for what they had to do next, or simply enjoy the walk. We have not given up quiet walks, but the sidewalks are noisy with cell phone conversations rushing by. It is hard to go anywhere – to a library, store, park or restaurant – without seeing phones out and illuminated. What we miss are the minutes between conversations, not only ours, but other people’s. Those minutes may have been peaceful or fraught with anxiety, but in any event they are scarce now."