Purpose and Description We’ve discussed some ways in which the self is shaped through our participation in social structures and our interactions with technologies. Much of our participation in society, however, is technologically mediated to some extent. This doesn’t necessarily refer only to thecontent of media – that is, the representations we see and hear in print, film, etc. Rather, what this means is that we rarely experience the world without the use of some sort of technological assistance, interface, or interpretation. Rarely are we alone with only our thoughts. Think about what is going on when you are by yourself. Is the television usually on? Are you often using your phone to communicate with others or listen to music? If you’re in a car, is the radio playing? This assignment is intended to provide you with the opportunity to reflect upon, and critically examine, the influence of technological mediation on the shaping of the human self. In particular, the focus here is technology’s effects on the capacity for solitude. Instructions ·         Your assignment is to be outdoors by yourself for 30 uninterrupted minutes. o   Set aside 30 minutes of time at some point during your day – particularly some point during the day when no one expects you to be available, or when no one usually contacts you. o   Be by yourself. If people are in the area, that’s fine; but the intention is for you to be alone with your thoughts. If you choose an area where people are, make sure it is one where you are unlikely to be bothered. ……. ….. o   No use of electronic technologies or print media of any kind, and no recording technology of any kind. This means no phones, books, computers, music, magazines, etc. Do not write, paint, draw, take pictures, etc.All you are allowed to do is be outside by yourself. o   You may walk around if you’d like, but don’t make this assignment follow your normal exercise routine (i.e. jogging, or outdoor exercises). Just be outside.  o   If you can, choose an area with fewer buildings or other human-made structures. o   If you need to set an alarm to signal the end of your 30 minutes, use a watch or set your phone on airplane mode. Do not allow your phone to receive any calls or messages that may distract you. ·         At the end of the half-hour, answer the three questions below: 1.      Describe your experience, and describe what you noticed about the natural world. a.       Some possible things to consider when describing your experience: Did the half-hour seem longer or shorter than you thought? Did it take a long time for you to stop thinking about ongoing conversations, or tasks you needed to complete, or things you needed to check on? Were you able to put these worries aside? What was your mood like at the beginning of the half-hour versus the end? 2.      In what ways does your everyday use of technology interfere with your experience of the world? In what ways does it improve or enhance your experience of the world? 3.      Consider the following: most people in our society these days are in constant communication with others. This trend seems to be on the rise. Some intellectuals have argued that this increased ease of communication, while positive in many ways, impairs our capacity for solitude. This is not the same thing as loneliness, which is something people generally fear and try to avoid. Rather, solitude is the capacity to gain positive reward from being alone at times. Solitude, some argue, is required for self-growth and self-improvement. Do you agree? Why or why not? ·         Follow the requirements below for formatting and submitting this assignment. Formatting Requirements 1.      Papers must be typed and double-spaced with 1-inch margins and 12-pt. Times New Roman font. 2.      Title this assignment “Technology and Solitude” 3.      Clearly indicate which sections of your paper answer which questions. 4.      Answer the questions above fully and carefully. If you do so, then your assignment should be between 2-2½ full pages. If your paper is less than 2 pages, you are probably not answering the questions adequately, and can expect your grade to reflect as much. 5.      Submit this assignment by 5 pm on Friday, December 13th, through the appropriate TurnItIn link in the “Extra Credit” folder within the “Course Content” folder on BlackBoard. ……. …..                             2 points

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