magic starSummarize by Aili

the attention cottage – The Homebound Symphony

🌈 Abstract

The article discusses the challenges of maintaining attention and focus in the modern digital age, where the "attentional commons" has been disrupted. The author argues that rebuilding private and local/communal spaces of attentiveness is necessary to address this issue. The article explores the concept of an "attention cottage" as a way for individuals to create a personal space for focused attention and contemplation, drawing inspiration from the works of artists like John Milton, Dorothy L. Sayers, and Terrence Malick.

🙋 Q&A

[01] The Attentional Commons

1. What is the author's view on the current state of the "attentional commons"?

  • The author believes the "attentional commons" is "borked, it's FUBAR; it's not stunned or pining for the fjords, it has ceased to be, it is bereft of life, it is an ex-commons."
  • The author argues that the "death of the attentional commons has had dramatic and sometimes tragic consequences for every individual's store of attentiveness."

2. What does the author suggest as a solution to rebuilding the attentional commons?

  • The author suggests that the attentional commons cannot be rebuilt unless we first rebuild private and local/communal spaces of attentiveness.

[02] The Attention Cottage

1. What is the author's concept of an "attention cottage"?

  • The author describes an "attention cottage" as a personal space, either physical or virtual, where one can focus and cultivate attention, away from the distractions of the modern digital environment.
  • Examples given include a boathouse like the one E.B. White wrote in, or a "cone of silence" that scholarly children from noisy families developed.

2. How does the author suggest building an attention cottage?

  • The author suggests that most people will have to build their attention cottage from "scraps" and that a good portion of it will need to be virtual.
  • The author describes their own attention cottage as a space where they can sit with a book, notebook, and no screens, allowing them to dwell in a state of focused attention.

[03] The Rhythm of Attention

1. What is the author's view on the "systolic/diastolic rhythm" of attention?

  • The author argues that great artists and thinkers cultivate a "systolic/diastolic rhythm, tension and release, an increase and then decrease of pressure" in their attention.
  • The author suggests that most people get this rhythm wrong, spending the majority of their time in "systolic mode - contracted, tensed" and only rarely entering the "relaxed diastolic phase."

2. How does the author propose to rebalance this rhythm of attention?

  • The author suggests that our "attention cottage" should be our "home, our secure base, the place from which we set out on our adventures in contemporaneity and to which we always make our nostos (homecoming)."
  • The author aims to rebuild this balance through how they organize their living space and apportion their attention, with the goal of helping others rebalance their attention as well.
Shared by Daniel Chen ·
© 2024 NewMotor Inc.