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Tenderlysharp

How Valuable Is Your Attention?

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Attention  

5 members have voted

  1. 1. Where do you invest your attention?

    • Philosophy
      5
    • Reason
      4
    • Epistemology
      4
    • Brain Enrichment
      2
    • Abstractions
      1
    • Art
      4
    • Science
      4
    • Technology
      4
    • Intimate Relationships
      2
    • Health
      1
    • Finances
      2
    • Other, please elaborate...
      2


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I've had a significant epiphany recently which drives focus toward clarifying and defining the Value of Attention.  It has been with me, all my life, in the background, subconsciously.  I am making effort to bring it into full focus.  

The Value of Attention.  

When I make a work of art I improve the value of my own attention, I improve the value of my attention toward the world, I improve the value of the attention the world has toward me.  

When I have seen a very good film, and find a friend capable of exploring the depths of the abstractions present in the work, my friend and I improve the value of our attention toward the work and toward one another.  

What are your thoughts about the way Attention relates to volition?

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I noticed a significant increase in the value of my attention when I first discovered Ayn Rand. Listening to her speeches changed the organization of my brain. The words she had worked so hard to make clear and concise were part of it. But the part I want to add more emphasis to, the part that is the abstraction I am seeking to clarify is the cadence in her voice, the rhythm, the nuances of her inflections, these things had the effect on my brain of mental gymnastics. I was exhausted... thoroughly mentally exhausted, in my first efforts to understand her. The relief and the challenge of becoming a rational consciousness was complex and overwhelming. Ayn Rand's voice had the effect of the sun chasing away the fog. Ayn Rand's voice traveling all these years through recording equipment told me a thousand things her printed pages never could. Her voice gave me the energy to pursue her meaning.

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50 minutes ago, Tenderlysharp said:

What are your thoughts about the way Attention relates to volition?

Attention is a key component in volition, which is the one fundamental free choice that man has, to focus his consciousness or not, to think or to evade that effort.

51 minutes ago, Tenderlysharp said:

Her voice gave me the energy to pursue her meaning.

She was indeed a very deliberate speaker. I actually found Peikoff's recorded lectures to be more helpful than Rand's own recorded words, as he seemed to articulate her philosophy very well.

44 minutes ago, Tenderlysharp said:

What does it mean to experience your attention being devalued?

It means that you are unfocused in life, or your focus is on something that it shouldn't be.

Quote

Other, please elaborate...

Meditation and achieving bliss, which I elaborate on in this topic. Curious to hear your thoughts.

I also like to have a bit of fun every now and then... something that I enjoy for itself, and not necessarily because it serves any greater purpose in life.

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3 hours ago, Tenderlysharp said:

What are your thoughts about the way Attention relates to volition?

Attention is the act of focusing your consciousness on sensory experience. It happens most dramatically when you wake up from sleeping or snap out of a "daydreaming" episode. Attention is valuable in relation to your particular needs. If you need sleep, then attention is not so valuable. If you need to escape from a burning building, then it's very valuable. You can also broaden or narrow your attention--expand or concentrate your focus. If you're guarding a fortress, you should probably keep your eyes and ears open at all times. If you're trying to learn a melody, you might want to close your eyes and put down the sandwich.

Part of volition is your ability to choose where and how to place your attention.

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6 hours ago, Tenderlysharp said:

What are your thoughts about the way Attention relates to volition?

I don't think Objectivism is about focused attention. It's about a mind that is focused on reality, certainly, but that doesn't mean you have to always carefully consider the specific aspects of reality you focus on.

Honestly, always consciously willing your attention has its drawbacks. You can miss out on a lot you might gain by letting it wonder.

Obviously, when you're trying to get something done, you want to eliminate distractions, and focus on that specific, pre-planned thing...even if it's just watching a movie, rather than work related. But, a lot of the time, it might be good to not plan out what you pay attention to, and just focus on experiencing the world around you, whatever it may be, and let your subconscious curiosity take your attention, your interactions with others, and even your physical location, in whatever direction it happens to take them.

Doesn't mean volition isn't at all times tied to attention. If you are mindful of your values, that will impact what you find interesting, and as a result what you end up paying attention to, even if you aren't consciously directing it.

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1 hour ago, Nicky said:

Honestly, always consciously willing your attention has its drawbacks. You can miss out on a lot you might gain by letting it wonder.

As an experiment, I tried to consciously will my attention at all times for about a month this summer. I would not let my mind wander... I could not let it wander, not even for a second.

While I came to some great realizations during that time, what I ultimately learned was that you simply can't function in life if you're trying to be hyper-focused all the time. You have to let your mind wander at some point.

Edited by CartsBeforeHorses

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11 hours ago, Nicky said:

If you are mindful of your values, that will impact what you find interesting, and as a result what you end up paying attention to, even if you aren't consciously directing it.

I agree, the quality of attention is the main idea.  Cultivating a healthy frontal cortex (the context and control center of the brain) is key.  

11 hours ago, Nicky said:

Honestly, always consciously willing your attention has its drawbacks.

I agree, an overactive frontal cortex is problematic; obsessive/compulsive disorder.  

I think being mindful of the quality of what you are investing your attention in, at any given moment,  is helpful in developing healthy brain habits.  Thinking... If this is boring or irritating or stupid, is there a way to improve the quality of my attention toward it?  

14 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

Attention is valuable in relation to your particular needs.

I like this thread of thought.  If an artist, musician, sculptor, writer deliberately gave an hour or two more per day to his craft he might make significant progress in that field.  

18 hours ago, CartsBeforeHorses said:

She was indeed a very deliberate speaker. I actually found Peikoff's recorded lectures to be

I think it came from a lifetime of contemplation with a sense of value toward discoveries of the inner workings of her mind.  I respect and admire Peikoff a great deal, and the words he uses are deeply informative and thoughtful, but the cadence of his voice has a bit of a downward tone at the ends of his sentences that make him seem restless that he has to explain things again.  Ayn Rand's voice had a tone of urgency and curiosity.  I love the way she often answered questions with more insightful questions.  

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How much of your attention have you invested in issues that are really important to you?  
How have you cultivated the organization of your attention?
How much of your attention is invested in knee jerk reactions?
How much attention is invested in things that are not important?
How much attention have you invested into self awareness?
How much attention have you invested in things that ought to be more important to you?    
How much context can you hold?

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