Attention Quarantined

You become what you agree to attend to.

And your freedom turns on it.

Literally.

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Effort of attention is … the essential phenomenon of will.

William James

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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.

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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.

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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.

Evan Thompson

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Which reminds me of a profound poem by A. R. Ammons—which arrested my attention the very first time I read it:

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ATTENTION

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Down by the bay I

kept in mind

at once

the tips of all the rushleaves

and so

came to know

balance’s cost and true:

somewhere though in the whole field

is the one

tip

I will someday lose out of mind

and fall through.

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The Candid Are a Little Wild

“Honesty’s on short supply and we subsist on mendacities in times of grave crises. We cannot afford such luxuries as truth or common sense in drastic times.”

Norman Spineles

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they are worse than zombies. they are holier than thouing their willfully blind way through the china shop of your conscience.

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The meek shall inherit the earth.

the hell,

all that the meek can accomplish is be weak

and thus a vehicle for evil.

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it’s only the little wild

who can

open their heart a little wide.

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I Meditates /tesserae

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read HERE

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1

there is clean air and green

undergrowth

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the sound of birds here and

there

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a fly buzzing by a couple of

cars in the

distance a tractor roaring

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the sun dancing in blobby

patches on my upper body

light breeze whispering

through leaves in the trees

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the shadow of leaves

on my yellow T minuscule

green bugs

on my arms bugs a-whirl

under the leafage

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a dog’s barking insects in

the grass

pigeon cooing

a plane droning overhead

in the sky—

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the texture feels balming

and silky—

like silk shirt rippling on

the fine dough of my body

in the early summer oven

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oh yeah!

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2

I am the son of the sun.

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3

when you sit down to meditate: ask yourself directly what you are expecting from doing it. where do you expect to arrive at. what psychological state are you in fact chasing. what are you actually after?

for me: it is basically a sense of feeling OK. a sense of being right there where I belong. a sense of being grounded in the given moment and place. among the people who matter to me and the people to whom I matter. where I feel satisfied with where and what and how I am. where everything’s in its place. where I feel integral to a whole.

or basically a sense of having a clear conscience. a sense of being responsible for myself and for my life. that I am not a burden on anyone. that I am not an imposition. on the contrary: that my presence adds something of value to the people and the world around me. that I am conducive to the well-being of the world around me. that my contribution matters. that my talents are relevant.

yes.

I expect to be relieved of the pressure of feeling guilty for who I am. I expect to be guilt- and shame-free. I expect to feel that my existence is of use and of value and that I am a PLUS rather than a MINUS (i.e. a useless hunk of mushy flesh—a waste of precious resources).

that’s basically what I expect to feel.

and then: I allow myself the feeling.

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4

nowadays the attitude of enjoying quietude is a rather neglected aptitude.

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5

each moment you can choose between opening up—or contracting around a trickle and shallow treat of yet another distraction.

the more you choose the latter: the less you’ll feel alive and well.

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6

the heavy flapping of pigeon wings wrinkles up the smooth fabric of quietude.

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7

the whimper of a lawn mower

a mile away

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a car’s door slamming shut

the engine revving up

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a neighbor sweeping their

backyard

a couple houses down the

street

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a black ant reconnoitering

on my left knee

green apple snug on

the wet sand in front of me

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a cockchafer riding the air

like chopper

the train at the edge of the

town passing by

in the direction of the capital

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when a sliver of a childhood feeling pierces me. the richness of it overwhelms me. to such an extent that it feels too much to take. without breaking down into sobbing. how simple it was. and how free of the mind. of the demands of the ego.

it was so pure and so simple.

so natural.

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9

the clouds morph into sky. the apple rots on the ground. there is coming and going. and a restless madness in between.

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10

what a cruel joke is this. we learn how to properly live only in retrospect. we realize what matters only after it’s gone. we find true joy in the finality of our sadness.

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11

being honest with yourself is difficult: precisely to the extent that you refrain from being bored—sitting in silence meditating on stuff by putting questions to yourself and inquiring—on a regular basis.

because the less you work out your honesty-muscle the more atrophied it gets.

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12

the sun’s sons we are.

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13

there’s church bell tolling and a

pig groaning

in a sty nearby (must be big from

the sound of it)

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and the sound of the pen on the

paper I am holding

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mosquito fixing to start drilling

near my ankle on my left leg

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there is constant stirring.

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stillness indeed is a shifty business.

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