: The 21st century may well be characterized as the age of “solitude loss”. We are wired as never before. Technological advances propel 24/7 engagement, responsiveness and feedback; but when can we find the solitude to reflect, to process information into ideas or even into inspiration? In response to these issues, I taught an interdisciplinary course winter/spring 2007 that examined the topic of restorative solitude and its meaning for everyday life.
FRAMEWORK: Scholarly works indicate that our human condition is a tension between connection with others and a profound need for solitude; for engagement and disengagement. The study of solitude cuts across disciplinary boundaries, thus readings and presentations will cover such topics as interpersonal relationships, childhood preferences for time alone, the relationship of solitude to technology and the creative process, solitude’s history and significance for religion and spirituality. We will also explore the conceptual distinctions of
restorative solitude with its “near relations” such as loneliness, social isolation, alienation, and privacy.
FORMAT: This will comprise of mini-lectures, small & large group discussions, solitude exercises and contemplative studies. Curriculum overview includes cognitive, affective and experiential forms of learning. Content will include theory and research from both the social science and humanities, in addition to visual (e.g. films, art forms) and literary works that illuminate restorative solitude in our lives.
RSVP: All books, handouts, meals will be provided free to participants through the generosity of the Jesuit Mission Fund and CAS. Books will be distributed prior to the seminar.