Sunday, June 4, 2023

judge well.........................

 Attention is not always within our control.  The unexpected, the changeable, the novel, even the habitual in life abduct our focus, intrude upon our awareness, and pull us off course for a time.  Attention is like a second skin, a meeting ground for our ever-present grappling with external and internal worlds.  Yet well used and nurtured carefully, our networks of attention are our foremost means to shaping our lives.  These networks give us extraordinary ways to master ourselves and our environment, offering the key to growth, connection, happiness.  Accepting a culture of eroding attention relinquishes this potential for sculpting our individual and collective futures.  To paraphrase Walter Mischel's caveat on will, we don't always want to exercise our highest powers of attention, yet if we cannot focus, observe, or judge well, the choice is lost.  Will we slip into a dark age of distraction?  At journey's end, I searched for final clues in contrasting realms of art and science where attention is nonetheless similarly dissected, rekindled, and venerated.  To reverse a darkening time, we must understand, strengthen, and lastly value attention.

-Maggie Jackson, Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age

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