Parsons School of Design

BFA Communication Design

Thesis 2017–18

Sonali Jain
Practicing Solitude

In the past century, the way we have handled aloneness has changed dramatically. Solitude did not always mean an absence of others, nor was it always associated with punishment. In fact, we now tend to equate a desire for solitude with people who are sad or have antisocial tendencies. But solitude can be a desirable, positive, and constructive state a of being alone. In our sped-up and hyperconnected era, we need solitude now more than ever. Being alone gives us the power to regulate and adjust our lives. It can increase productivity and teach us fortitude and self-reliance.

Through research and interviews I found that while loneliness may be the most obvious risk of aloneness, it is not the only experience one may have when alone. People’s reasons for practicing solitude and their experiences during this time can be divided into eight types; solitude as creativity, diversion, inner-peace, problem solving, anonymity, loneliness, self-discovery, and spirituality. From this, I derived the practicing solitude cards which have activities for each category of solitude mentioned. Its companion book documents the use of the practicing solitude cards, each by a difference participant, demonstrating that the result of solitude can be positive and constructive.

Therefore through this thesis I aim to remove the negative connotations of solitude by promoting the practice of spending time with oneself, showing that alone does not necessarily mean being lonely.


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Jiyoung Hwang
Meditation Square
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Andrea S. Jassir
El Recorrido
Parsons School of Design
BFA Communication Design
Thesis 2017–18