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Accepted Paper:

The Diaries of Silence and the Unbearable Immediacy  
Anton Gumenskiy (University of Warwick)

Paper short abstract:

Under the terms of the ‘Diaries of Silence’ experiment, participants abstain from using electronic media and oral speech for one week. The participants also keep self-observation diaries. The most dramatic discovery was the unbearability of the immediate interaction with oneself and the others.

Paper long abstract:

Under the terms of the ongoing ‘Diaries of Silence’ experiment, participants should abstain from using electronic media, gadgets, internet services and oral speech for seven days. The participants must also keep a self-observation diary. From 2012 to 2021, 150+ diaries of men and women aged 20-45 were collected. These diaries revealed such different emotions and experiences of the participants as "awakening of the senses" (better hearing, brighter taste, in one extreme case the first ever sense of smell) and the "muting of the senses" (one could not write poetry without being able to speak), etc.

Some of the crucial and most dramatic discoveries were those of the self and the others.

On the one hand, the company of the self and own body was often unbearable: feelings of loneliness and boredom, voices in the head, emptiness, lots of free time and an inability to fill it, disorientation in space and time, social awkwardness, dependence on others, and uncertainty about how others perceive oneself.

On the other hand, just as unexpected and unbearable were the reactions of friends and family: most often, their irritation and dissatisfaction; much less often, understanding, support and playing along.

Our invisible media, digital and oral speech, save us from the unbearable immediacy, they serve as a shield from the world and ourselves and allow us to fine-tune the way we interact with ourselves and the others.

Panel P111b
Being there - but how? On the transformation of presences II
  Session 1 Tuesday 26 July, 2022, -