The End of Absence

Michael Harris

The End of Absence
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In this thought-provoking book, Michael Harris looks at the impact that the digital era is having on our way of life -- and on how we think. He argues that because our technological devices allow us to be constantly connected, we live in a state of distraction and are losing our ability to simply sit alone with our thoughts. Harris draws on interviews with numerous experts, and also describes trying to reclaim that space of solitude and contemplation in his own life, with mixed results. The End of Absence is an engaging, insightful exploration of the internet age.


"As we embrace a technology's gifts, we usually fail to consider what they ask from us in return -- the subtle, hardly noticeable payments we make in exchange for their marvelous service. We don't notice, for example, that the gaps in our schedules have disappeared because we're too busy delighting in the amusements that fill them. We forget the games that childhood boredom forged because boredom itself has been outlawed. Why would we bother to register the end of solitude, of ignorance, of lack? Why would we care that an absence has disappeared?"

From The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We've Lost in a World of Constant Connection by Michael Harris ©2014. Published by HarperCollins Canada.

Michael Harris on Spark:

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Michael Harris on Ottawa Morning:

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