“What is human history, if not the story of man slowly becoming less alone?”
The advice offered to me by people when I explain I am going to live by myself in the woods for a week varies from the sensible (“Develop a routine”) to the frankly awful (“Take some weed!”).
But it is Michael Harris, the Canadian author who published a book in 2014 called The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We’ve Lost in a World of Constant Connection, who I pay most attention to.
Like me, Harris decided to try and face his fears. He gave up the internet and his phone for an entire month, though not, it must be said, human contact altogether. Nevertheless, “crushing loneliness,” is how he describes the initial effects of his experiment.
“You have to remember, people who design our online experiences have devoted enormous resources toward making them as addictive as possible,” Harris says. “Walking away from it makes you feel like shit, because…
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