Engaging with something, aren’t we almost casting our vote for the value of its presence in our lives? Our attention on any given thing being, perhaps, an act of validation or approval that’s giving each thing greater power (Notes One). In a similar way to how we show interest in others or choose to ignore them: that, with our minds, we might decide which things we want to reflect, acknowledge or understand.
Isn’t human attention a powerful thing? That we would allow certain things – be they words, opinions, inferences, images, conclusions – into the sacred space of our minds, where they’re free to interact as they see fit with whatever else happens to reside there. Once accepted, isn’t it hard to fully erase something? It’s trekked its path through your thoughts, breaking or challenging other ideas in ways we mightn’t notice.
How are we to know the impact of all we’re letting in within modern life? It’s seems we’re fairly constantly assailed with many quite questionable sources of input (Notes Two). Compared to even the most recent past, isn’t it incredible how much information we’re now receiving? Also, how unregulated it all is in terms of production, distribution and consumption – that we’re essentially all free to do as we please, unobserved.
Yet, within it all, aren’t there still many important things at stake? Perhaps the potential repercussions of “all this” are vaster than they’ve ever been; given how quickly ideas can now travel between us and evolve to fantastic proportions. Without the checks and balances of a community’s oversight, concern and expectations, are there many limits to where individuals could go under the power of their minds?
Sometimes it seems we’ve been given quite an incredible amount of freedom: that we’re free to choose exactly how we’ll see the world and all those within it, freely self-selecting which voices we’ll listen to and attitudes we’ll adopt. Everyone free to do as they please, who’s to say where we’ll all wander off to and how easily we’ll be able to relate to one another once we get there?
Theoretically, it seems people in the past generally followed the affairs of their environment quite closely: concerning themselves mainly with events that fairly directly impacted their lives. Things they understood and had power to influence. Focussing on what surrounds you – what you hope to create there – seems such a beautiful notion of grassroots engagement, much as it’s also a recipe for meddling (Notes Three).
Looking at life as this fast-moving global reality of interlocking ideas, activities and repercussions, how are we best to use the power of our attention? If “how we spend our time” and “the things we let into our minds” have powerful consequences in terms of either distraction or of the subtle shifting of underlying values, assumptions or beliefs, isn’t it important we think about all we’re casting our vote for? (Notes Four)
If, as humans, where we place our focus is how we have an effect, where’s all this leading?
Notes and References:
Note 1: Attention as a resource
Note 1: Where do we get our ideas from?
Note 1: Do we know what we’re doing?
Note 1: Frameworks of how we relate
Note 2: Meaning in a world of novelty
Note 2: Do the “lies” blind us to truth?
Note 2: Passing on what’s important
Note 2: Is this the ultimate test?
Note 3: Inspiring people and ideas
Note 3: All that we add to neutrality
Note 3: The idea of think globally, act locally
Note 3: What does community mean?
Note 4: Powerful responsibility of a media voice
Note 4: Effect, if everything’s a drama
Note 4: Understanding & staying informed