Effort of attention is … the essential phenomenon of will.
The way Social Media can in effect anti-socialize us and Smart technologies dumb us down is the way that our capacity for discerning attention is under great threat in the Black Hole Glut of the Attention (=Distraction) Economy.
And it all happens when we have no distinct idea about who we actually are and what we actually stand for.
Absent clarity of intent and intuitive self-reliance we’re bound to forfeit our agency and to defer to what (ever) is being curated for us.
Free will then is not exempt from causes and conditions but is rather the flexible coordination of attention, intention and emotion in skillful action. That’s what it means to be free from a psychological and phenomenological perspective.
Which reminds me of a profound poem by A. R. Ammons—which arrested my attention the very first time I read it:
THE NUMBER ONE PRINCIPLE OF MY WHOLE TEACHING IS TO HAVE A GREAT CLARITY ABOUT YOUR INTENTION. ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE DOING WHY YOU ARE DOING IT AND WHERE YOU ARE HEADED. BECAUSE WITHOUT THAT CLARITY: YOUR ENERGY GETS DISSIPATED.
the question ultimately is: are you gearing towards satisfying your greed and your gluttony and lust (as a way of sublimating your fear of loss)
or towards saying yes to life and committing to serving something beyond your appetites.
each and every day: to what energies and psychic currents you lend your flesh and your bones—is the ultimate question.