“Attention is Currency”: An Individual or Tribe or Nation Divided is Doomed When Distracted
Divide and Conquer
to make a group of people disagree and fight with one another so that they will not join together against one. “His military strategy is to divide and conquer.”
Definition of DIVIDE AND CONQUER
Divide and conquer definition is - to make a group of people disagree and fight with one another so that they will not…
Those of us who have spent time in the military are familiar with this idea.
It is the supremely effective methodology of the <1% to keep the masses fighting over our differences to keep us distracted, which is the perfect way to separate us from our treasure.
Works, too. Look around. Nobody is paying attention, while our lands are being taken away, our resources, ripped off, the world’s animals decimated. People are consumed by hate based on the smallest differences between us.
Works like a charm.
We hate over color, gender, religion, neighborhood, who has greener grass and better toys. We hate and kill over DNA results, a 100 year old slight, and a thousand thousand other monumentally stupid and useless reasons. Feuds last hundreds of years. Civil wars rip children from school.
As long as we’re distracted, our bank accounts are wide open for the taking.
Witness: Facebook. Witness: any large so-called secure institution that has been hacked, with all our personal information lifted for selling on the Dark Web. Witness: every single ugly war on Earth, fueled by lies and disinformation, with kerosene being merrily thrown on by all the world’s great powers. Including ours. Man, does that sell expensive weapons.
Witness: all the Stormy Daniels et. al. stupidity while Congress is selling America’s seas to shining seas to the highest bidder. The rest of the world is doing the same. People are so distracted by hate, by Facebook, by their narcissistic self-interest they are functionally out to lunch.
Works like a charm.
Attention is currency, and in many ways it is the single most powerful one we have. Where you and I point our eyeballs, our intention, that grows. That’s true of love, hate, fear, angst, depression, joy, hope. Makes no difference. We pay our way through life with our attention.
In the work of the monk, attention is what teaches us to focus. To clear and calm the mind. That’s a tough skill these days. In an article for Psychology Today, author Caroline Beaton outlines what gets in the way. A lot. But mostly, our laziness, and our willingness to let our free-falling focus be co-opted by mindless bullshit.
Imagine. Four years ago Microsoft did a bit of research which revealed that the average American had the attention span of a goldfish thought. Hey, look at this article (SQUIRREL). Yes. YOU. Me. All of us.
Attention is Currency
Barbara Gersh (Barbara Gersh) gave me this term when commenting on a story of mine the other day. I warned her I’d be pilfering the term, and here we are. Barbara is a woman concerned with authenticity, the power of words in person. She mentioned a group of hers that is committed to “owning their words,” as she put it. This is in the face of the billions who hurl insults at others without retribution, without a cost to themselves, and the cancer that this has created in our world. Face to face it is extremely difficult to be vicious, not only because we can see the damage we do but also because we have to pay the piper for our vitriol. You want to set someone on fire with your words in person and you, my friend, are going to get burned by the conflagration you just began. That is as it should be.
If we are to return to some semblance of a polite society- and that’s one tall order these days- then we must learn to be in each other’s presence. Attending, if you will, to what our conversational partner is saying. What they mean, under the words. The complex layering of body language, the subtle signals and sometimes quite magical subcontexts of wit, sass and a touch of sarcasm, all of which make a lively exchange such a pleasure. In the presence of each other, there are implicit rules of engagement. In Barbara’s group, I doubt one is allowed to answer a phone mid-conversation.
That’s not attention. That’s highway robbery.
When you give social media, television, ads, radio, TV and the million million other invasions into your headspace permission to distract you, you are damaging one of the most essential human skills we have. It is in part why so many people cannot be alone. To wit:
We would rather electrocute ourselves than spend time in our own thoughts. This was demonstrated in a controversial 2014 study in which 67 per cent of male participants and 25 per cent of female participants opted to give themselves unpleasant electric shocks rather than spend 15 minutes in peaceful contemplation.
While I have noted this elsewhere, this tidbit fits here because we have allowed ourselves to be ripped off of our ability to see, to concentrate, to assess, and to call bullshit on what’s going on around us. By allowing ourselves to be hijacked, we sold our ability to pay attention down the river.
We are divided. Easy targets. Sitting ducks. Just look around. Give it a try for a change.
But you will have to put that goddamned phone down to actually notice anything.
Gee, welcome back to the real world. There’s a whole lot going on you’ve been missing.