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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Remember

there is enough treachery, hatred violence absurdity in the average
human being to supply any given army on any given day

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and the best at murder are those who preach against it
and the best at hate are those who preach love
and the best at war finally are those who preach peace

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those who preach god, need god
those who preach peace do not have peace
those who preach peace do not have love

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beware the preachers
beware the knowers
beware those who are always reading books
beware those who either detest poverty
or are proud of it
beware those quick to praise
for they need praise in return
beware those who are quick to censor
they are afraid of what they do not know
beware those who seek constant crowds for
they are nothing alone
beware the average man the average woman
beware their love, their love is average
seeks average

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but there is genius in their hatred
there is enough genius in their hatred to kill you
to kill anybody
not wanting solitude
not understanding solitude
they will attempt to destroy anything
that differs from their own
not being able to create art
they will not understand art
they will consider their failure as creators
only as a failure of the world
not being able to love fully
they will believe your love incomplete
and then they will hate you
and their hatred will be perfect

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like a shining diamond
like a knife
like a mountain
like a tiger
like hemlock

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their finest art

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Charles Bukowski

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People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

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If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

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If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

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The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

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Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

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The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

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People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

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What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

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People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

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Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

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Kent M. Keith

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Adyashanti on Free Will

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.

right.

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 the confines of your ego-self.

to embody—like the leaves of a tree (in their rustle and quiver) embody the wind—the forces of good or the forces of evil.

indeed.

each and every day: to what energies and psychic currents you lend your flesh and your bones—is the ultimate question.