Note — Feb 28, 2021

Attention Stewardship

Christopher Butler with his reading of the recent interview with Micheal Goldhaber (the “prophet you’ve never heard of” from No.160), and what I think can be a very useful expansion on the idea of attention; towards stewardship and this act of not only controlling our attention but participating in the existence or preservation of ideas outside of the attention of the mass. One does not only keep one’s attention, one also focuses on value that needs to exist.

Culture is a tapestry of ideas, beliefs, and agreements. And as powerful as any idea or belief or agreement may be, each relies upon attention. […]

The more we, as a culture, unify our attention, the bigger the void into which most things will disappear. Girard’s theory suggests that attention, like any product of desire, will ultimately fall into a pattern of mimesis. […]

[T]hese two ideas — the information economy and mimetic theory — intersect at the responsibility we each have to use our attention wisely. To care about what we consume so that we are the beneficiaries of attention no matter if we are giving or receiving it. To care less about receiving attention simply for attention’s sake. To consider our acts of attention as acts of stewardship not just over our own minds, but over the culture of which we are a part.

More → Drew Austin with Disconnection Notice.

Illich illustrates why the internet feels so loud and claustrophobic: The technology that mediates it ensures that every sliver of the sonic spectrum is allocated to someone, and when softer voices aren’t speaking, the loud ones simply travel further. […]

“Just as the commons of space are vulnerable, and can be destroyed by the motorization of traffic, so the commons of speech are vulnerable, and can easily be destroyed by the encroachment of modern means of communication.”