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How to tame your wandering mind | Amishi Jha - YouTube
Amishi Jha studies how we pay attention: the process by which our brain decides what's important out of the constant stream of information it receives. Both external distractions (like stress) and internal ones (like mind-wandering) diminish our attention's power, Jha says -- but some simple techniq
attention  meditation  mindfulness  stress  ted  video 
2 days ago by kogakure
Letter to an Aspiring Intellectual by Paul J. Griffiths | Articles | First Things
Via ALD. By Paul J. Griffiths is Warren Professor of Catholic Theology at Duke Divinity School.

"So: Find something to think about that seems to you to have complexity sufficient for long work, sufficient to yield multifaceted and refractory results when held up to thought’s light as jewelers hold gemstones up to their loupes. And then, don’t stop thinking about it."

Purpose of argument: "we argue with those who differ from us, sometimes, it’s true, out of the delight of battle and the urge for victory, but sometimes, too, because we find in argument a powerful device for clarifying a position and seeing how it might be improved."

"I think that at the moment you’re in love with the idea of being an intellectual rather than with some topic for thought. ... Most people who’d love to be novelists don’t write novels, and that’s because they’re not really interested in doing so. They’re infatuated with an image and a rôle rather than with what those who play that rôle do."

"You need a life in which you can spend a minimum of three uninterrupted hours every day, excepting sabbaths and occasional vacations, on your intellectual work. ... You need this because intellectual work is, typically, cumulative and has momentum."

"The most essential skill is surprisingly hard to come by. That skill is attention. Intellectuals always think about something, and that means they need to know how to attend to what they’re thinking about. Attention can be thought of as a long, slow, surprised gaze at whatever it is."

"How then to overcome boredom and cultivate attention? ... There’s no twelve-step for this. Rather, it’s a matter, first, of knowing that attention is necessary for intellectual work and that it will, when practiced, bear unexpected fruit, and that it won’t, no matter what seems to be the case, exhaust what it’s turned to. Then, it’s a matter of knowing that you’ll be bored by what you’re thinking about, ceasing to be surprised by that dry response, and accommodating it into the patterns of your attention (see above, on the relation between solitude and loneliness). And lastly, it’s a matter of practice by repetition, like piano-playing and squash. You’ll get better at attending as you do it, so long as you know you need to get better at it."

"Don’t do any of the things I’ve recommended unless it seems to you that you must. ... Undertake it if, and only if, nothing else seems possible. "
ALD  academia  thinking  **  attention  vocation  education 
10 days ago by pierredv

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