Wednesday, November 10, 2004

ATTN: What is attention?

I dedicate this year (and probably most of next year) to the question of what attention is. I'm working on a white paper but i feel i haven't gotten into the very core of it. I believe that attention is the "power of mankind". With that i mean that when it comes down to the question "to act or not to act", the need for attention is what essentially makes all the difference. It occurred to me that the only way to find out about attention is to use attention itself. I think that is what the ancient buddhists meant by their proverb "attention is attention".

So I would like you to share your thoughts and experiences on the subject of attention.

Example: one proverb says "emotions, at the very core, always deal with the matter of life and death". You may have noticed that negative emotions (towards death) can take up a lot of attention. Some people i've met are capable of feeling attention flooding to the back of their head, where the amygdala is seated. (Amygdala is the center of freeze, fight or flight). This attention drain cannot continue endlessly. So the attention balance is headed towards bancrupcy. You need to increase either your own attention or get it from elsewhere. It's like an economy, but this time attention plays the money part. So how to increase solvability on your attention balance? How to stay alive?

If you want to add attention from others, there are two way that i know of. You either blame someone else, or you share your emotions with them. When you blame someone else, it is like attracting high risk venture capital. You won't go bancrupt but it wont do your solvability (aka self-esteem) any good.

On the other hand: sharing your emotions calls for an additional personal investment. Note that you already ran low on attention so this is not an easy decision to make. The risk is that the other person responds different from what you were hoping / expecting for. Then you are really in trouble. You may even need to slow down (burn-out: living on a minimum of attention). Now, if all goes well, the other person responds / connects / understands / has compassion. Then, some kind of accelerator is working. While the both of you feel that you hardly invest any attention, the outcome is that both have more attention than before. This is what creation is all about.

I hope my example is not too confusing - like i said i still haven't found the very core of attention. I hope some of you will join me on my quest, and share with me / us from what you've learned in life.

Thank you for your attention.
Best regards, Ron.

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