Fleeing through the mind’s window into disobedience

March 3, 2012

More on the art of distraction and attention spans from Hanif Kureishi in a recent NYTimes opinion piece:

“It is said that distractions are too easy to come by now that most writers use computers, though it’s just as convenient to flee through the mind’s window into fantasy. In the end, a person requires a method. He must be able to distinguish between creative and destructive distractions by the sort of taste they leave, whether they feel depleting or fulfilling. And this can work only if he is, as much as possible, in good communication with himself — if he is, as it were, on his own side, caring for himself imaginatively, an artist of his own life.”

Read the whole thing, plus comments. How much are we stuck in constantly juggling “biological determinism” with the “poetic human”? How does one determine “good communication” with oneself when many are faced with a loose mosaic of their various mediated selves?

Kureishi leans towards disobedience:

“We might need to be irresponsible. But to follow a distraction requires independence and disobedience; there will be anxiety in not completing something, in looking away, or in not looking where others prefer you to.”

Comments one reader:

“These flights do … lead to nothing. It is difficult to reach even the smallest achievement when your thoughts are an ever-changing channel and you have no control of the remote.”

Back to technogenesis (and never mind the metaphors): how many pilots does it take…


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