Who Has Stolen Our Attention?
I very seldom write a blog that simply sends you off somewhere else to read something by another writer - but this is an exception. The Guardian recently published an opinion article called "Technology Is Driving Us To Distraction" which so perfectly and masterfully states what's been bugging me existentially for years now - that I'm going to give you the link, ask you to trust me and go read.
Here's a lure: "I now believe the liberation of human attention may be the defining moral and political struggle of our time. It is a first-order problem; its success is a prerequisite to the success of virtually all other struggles. We therefore have an obligation to rewire the system of intelligent, adversarial persuasion we have inherited before it rewires us."
For any of you who have read my novel "Google Beta 3" this is what the story is all about - we think our technologies are liberating us but in fact, in most cases they're creating a new level of slave-life and attention-suck and emotion-manipulation and spirit-deprivation that will soon be so insidious, we're liable to fall totally and long-term into its spell. My featured character in that story, Mahalena Bernhardt, has been created to show someone who's a true hero, struggling, against all odds to transcend the mechanization and overthrow of the human soul. I hope we can all be inspired like her to step up and fight this new freedom fight - against media technology getting so smart and dominating that it will fully gobble up our all-precious power of attention ... and leave us drained of what used to be called our sense of individual self.
Without further ado, here's the Guardian article by James Williams - power to you, James!