Ages are named for their dominant technologies, e.g.,Bronze Age, Industrial Age, Atomic Age. Some time during the Obama Presidency communications infrastructure reached critical saturation, and the balance of power shifted profoundly. The Attention Age has begun.
Can a person control attention at will? Not much of it; as a survival adaptation, attention has evolved for finding food and mates, and avoiding danger. Considering the running commentary in our heads, it should be clear that it would never do to put so vital a function entirely at the disposal of our intellectual faculties. It is often impaired by alcohol and drug use, television, and other electronic media. Whether we can direct attention, and who or what else is managing it, are worthwhile questions.
The most profitable activities grow and grow (what economists mean by "Growth"), and the rest of whatever we do withers on the vine. Look around. What do you see? Overcast skies, and the sound of artillery in the distance? It doesn't matter. Whatever it is, that is what we paid for. That's what is moving the wealth to the Providers most efficiently. At least, that is what satisfies the operational parameters of the machinery.
Eventually I found a setting that made my computer read to me. Not only that, it reads in a voice that sounds just like an Australian woman in her twenties. I picked that one because it was the least creepy. I can imagine being read to by Courtney Barnett, who should never have to pay… Continue reading Talking Robots and the Culture of Enslavement
And everything leaps into motion for us,
Even as it turnes to stone.
Training is both practice and expression of a discipline. It isn't just practice in the sense of preparation: it's practice in the sense of taking on a certain way of being. Every discipline has its forms, and training is the earnest attempt to match performance to that form. Rinse and repeat, as they say. Perceptions may be adjusted through the specialized language of a discipline and through physical repetition of its forms.
The Virus has turned everything upside-down and backwards: we were mentally isolated and physically free. Now we're physically isolated. About our minds, that remains to be seen… We were isolated by our screens into little mental bubbles, each with our own sets of facts and concerns, just a couple of weeks ago. This made the… Continue reading Viral, too
March 21, 2020 Another Paradigm Shift: we were isolated mentally, in little screen-bubbles; now we're isolated physically, "sheltering in place", and the Attention Harvesting machine that has kept us misinformed and upset is clogged and stalled. We all see the same thing now: our normal way of life is potentially deadly; and nobody is immune.… Continue reading Viral
Now that we find ourselves in this Ernie Borgnine-Carol Channing disaster epic, everybody's thrown together on a sea of Uncertainty, rich and poor, wise and foolish, greedy and generous, a veritable stew of human frailties: and we're all in this together. This is messing with the markets. Not the markets we usually think of. Stocks… Continue reading How Did You Think The World Would End?
I wrote this just about a week before the virus panic started. Now that we’ve kind of settled down a little, we still have an election to think about. And we might even come up with a workable, reliable, online voting system, counted by girl scouts and nuns (thank you Jane Stillwater). But there are considerable interests that are dead set against that, because — well we all know what would happen if everybody voted, and their votes were actually counted honestly. I’ll just say it flatly: Bernie would be elected by a landslide.
Surveillance is what predators do when they're stalking their prey... and the prey knows it.