LOOK: HOW TO PAY ATTENTION IN A DISTRACTED WORLD

Here’s how this week’s arts and culture column begins:

New York-based consultant Christian Madsbjerg writes, speaks, and teaches widely on the “practical application of the human sciences.”

“Humans adapt instantly to change but often without understanding the long-term consequences,” he writes. “At ReD [his firm], we tried to keep this radical openness to the transformation of even the most profound and philosophical questions as part of all projects. The future is never a theoretical prospect for any of us. You can observe it in all your everyday reality. The most challenging thing for all of us to see is what is really there.”

TED talk language, in other words: What does that even mean?

READ THE WHOLE PIECE HERE.

2 Replies to “LOOK: HOW TO PAY ATTENTION IN A DISTRACTED WORLD”

  1. I was wary of Madsbjerg’s book as soon as I read his quote about humans adapting “instantly to change.” No we don’t. Most of us are very suspicious of change — and for good reason. And the people who promote change for change’s sake — like forcing old people to use smart phones — are sometimes very evil people.
    I need to observe what’s right in front of me more carefully, instead of constantly being distracted by things I can do nothing about.
    M. O’C. Drury, a friend and follower of Wittgenstein, recounted this gem while on a trip to Ireland: “On the way home from our walk we passed a cottage outside which a small girl, about five years old, was sitting. Wittgenstein suddenly stopped and said, ‘Drury, just look at the expression on that child’s face. You don’t take enough notice of people’s faces; it is a fault you ought to try to correct.'” Drury later became a psychiatrist.

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Love the Wittgenstein anecdote–also the 5-year-old girl was herself probably “looking” at something fascnating, like an anthill or a cloud. Madsbjerg doesn’t see this kind of looking for looking’s sake, for love’s sake, as anything worthy or even worthy of mentioning. He wants to mine our very curiosity and wonder, the way we relate to each other, where we stand in a group, how human beings approach one another, and to use the info for marketing purposes. So that even, say, soliciting for a save-the-world nonprofit becomes a programmed transaction (unbeknownst to the volunteer donor), the solicitor’s physical distance from the volunteer pre-measured, stastically evaluated, and aimed toward maximum efficiency and profits. In short, grotesque.

      And you’re so right–we have been thrust into a world where change is so rapid we’re discombobulated, esp older people used to pencil and paper for heaven’s sake. Which I, for one, still like!

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