If you choose something to attend to ... the object of attention is sooner or later seen for what it is, ever changing, impermanent, a part of everything else
Susan Blackmore (1995)
John Locke noticed how attention - giving heed, consideration or thought to what is at hand - ‘registers’ its objects into our memories. After some years in the twentieth century when it was tangled in cognitive psychology, 'attention' is again being used more widely as a term crucial to human understanding in the way Locke suggested. While it is through attention that we lodge what the senses bring to memory, it is also necessary to set aside the distractions Setting aside distractions is no easy matter. that memory continuously offers when we are trying to attend. Full attention avoids interruption Our propensity to comment on all that goes on in and around us continuously interrupts attention. by memories, plans and fantasies, and seeks to come nearer to what is here, now. And in the here and now is found that seamless, seething, ever changing A page on this idea of flux, an idea with a venerable history. nature of life.
John Locke (1632-1704) introduces attention in ‘An Essay Concerning Human Understanding’ II ch19, Sec 1. Susan Blackmore (1951 - ) is a British writer. The quote is from her ‘Paying Attention’, an essay she wrote for the Western Chan Fellowship, and can be found online in their ‘Library’.
This photograph was taken just before dusk, when the temperature drops, on the beach in Chennai, in 1994.
Above hovering on blue introduces a link: click to go, move away to stay.