Our Life is What We Pay Attention To

When our attention is lured, herded, and commandeered in such a way, our full human potential is profoundly subverted. “Our life experience,” William James once said, “will equal what we have paid attention to, whether by choice or default.” We become what we attend to — nothing more, nothing less. A steady and exclusive stream of reality TV, entertainment gossip, social media chatter, and “breaking news” about the latest celebrity scandal or Trump’s most recent tweets — all endlessly cycling into each other — turns us into the bland clickbait of the attention harvesters. Yet, though we justifiably consider the enslavement of bodies a terrible wrong, we willingly surrender our minds for the profit of others. This new, almost hip, kind of slavery is sought, not fought.

Like a balanced diet, a healthy capacity for attention enables us to engage and disengage at will, thus freeing us to dwell and reflect. This continual process of focusing, defocusing, and refocusing keeps us aware of larger contexts. And this is how we learn and grow, in some cases attaining greatness in our endeavors or developing a deeper wisdom and outlook on life. “Over the coming century,” Wu writes, “the most vital human resource in need of conservation and protection is likely to be our own consciousness and mental space.” As technologists and entrepreneurs collaborate to bring us the next generation of attention harvesting devices, such as Google Glass and other “smart” wearables, it is imperative that we create spaces and blocks of time that are beyond their reach.

Notes:

Folksonomies: attention quality of life focus

Taxonomies:
/business and industrial (0.508930)
/society/crime/personal offense/torture (0.419332)
/society/unrest and war (0.192095)

Keywords:
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Entities:
William James:Person (0.839413 (:0.000000)), Trump:Company (0.783769 (:0.000000)), Wu:Person (0.769957 (:0.000000)), Google:Company (0.758909 (:0.000000))

Concepts:
Slavery (0.916509): dbpedia_resource
Psychology (0.831496): dbpedia_resource
Consciousness (0.724578): dbpedia_resource
Mind (0.632387): dbpedia_resource
Health (0.611231): dbpedia_resource
Breaking news (0.610082): dbpedia_resource
Steven Spielberg (0.569325): dbpedia_resource
Human resource management (0.569181): dbpedia_resource

 The Great Attention Heist
Electronic/World Wide Web>Internet Article:  Bell, John and Zada, (JANUARY 1, 2018), The Great Attention Heist, LA Review of Books, Retrieved on 2018-01-08
  • Source Material [lareviewofbooks.org]
  • Folksonomies: attention focus