Unplug Your Life: Digital Detox Through a Kierkegaardian Lens

Kierkegaard Studies Yearbook 24 (1):415-436 (2019)
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Abstract

Our engagement with social media, smart and mobile technologies is ambiguous and raises existential questions about the naturalness and desirability of hyper-connectivity. On the one hand, we benefit from using these technologies in organizing and socializing our everyday life. On the other hand, they further complicate our lives. Hence, in recent years, more and more people choose to abstain from digital media by taking on a so-called ‘digital detox,’ a period of living without these technologies. In this article, we look at ‘digital detoxing’ from an existential perspective by introducing Kierkegaard’s existential categories of repetition and recollection to tackle the question whether ‘dropping out’ is a meaningful act or a temporary respite. What would it mean, so we ask, to find a proper balance in a world that demands constant connectivity?

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Karl Verstrynge
Vrije Universiteit Brussel

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