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Kevin Jones - Ideas:


- Personal History: Science vs. Art
- Mindport History: Thinking Out Loud about Science, Art, and Human Values
- What's in a Sound
- Mindport Themes and Educational Values
- Damn the Computers
- Mindporty Things
- The Quality of Attention
- Weathering the Storm
- Revisit: What is Mindport?


The Quality of Attention

Observation and attention are qualities which we’ve discussed a great deal at Mindport. Attention is a rather mysterious thing. It’s difficult to know even what to call it, outside of “thing.” It’s not even a thing, it’s a focus or a process, a bringing of some capacity of ours to bear on something. Despite the elusiveness of its definition, it is something which lies at the very core of being.

I’ve written some questions below which can be used as a kind of mental chocolate. Try letting them dissolve slowly under the roof of your brain.

What is the quality of attention required by “scientific observation.” What kind is required to paint a picture or compose a song?

“I’m too busy!” How do we feel when we’re too busy? What does it mean about our attention?

Contrast “busy-ness” to the idea of simplicity. What situations seem to embody simplicity? Where does attention go when we understand ourselves as living in a simple way?

What is our emotional response to situations perceived as “busy” or “simple.”

What is the relationship between attention and being? When we give something our attention, how do we feel? (How does it depend on what we give attention to?)

What does giving various things our attention do to our perception of ourselves?

How does our perception of ourselves affect what we give our attention to?

How is attention related to love?

Look at a photograph: Snapshot, newspaper photo, “art” photo, calendar photo. What does a photograph tell us about the quality or quantity of the photographer’s attention?

How do works of art educate our attention? How does science educate our attention? How does advertising educate our attention?

Can we increase awareness about the manipulation of our attention? WHAT is being manipulated in such a case?

Can we change the quality of our attention? What does this mean? Is it desirable to do so?

What pays attention when we pay attention to our attention?