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The Left Hemisphere Thwarts Focus: On Art Appreciation

Attention, attention, attention.

Everyone is starved for it . . . their own, not others. People want to be able to focus again.

Madison Avenue purposefully kills it:

The legal scholar Tim Wu, in his book “The Attention Merchants,” notes, “Without express consent, most of us have passively opened ourselves up to the commercial exploitation of our attention just about anywhere and any time.” No wonder young people struggle. Burnett, in an opinion piece that he co-wrote in the Times last fall, argued that schools, rather than just expecting students to pay attention, should teach them how.

Madison Avenue only feeds off what's already there. It advertises in English because that's what we speak. It doesn't use words like "faggot" and "retard" because they're words people hate.

And it capitalizes on our inability to focus because we can't.

Modernity brought us the inability to focus.

Modernity is the Era of the Left Hemisphere.

The left hemisphere naturally opposes focus on the thing in front of us now.

The left hemisphere is tasked with tasks. It wants to get things done. To get things done, it always needs to think about the next task. The result? It can't focus on the present task.

Kevin Majeres points out at Optimal Work that, if you can't read for fifteen minutes without thinking about what you're going to do when you're done reading, you have an attention deficiency.

You, in other words, are a slave to your left hemisphere.

If that's the case, develop your ability to read recreationally. It's an easy and enjoyable way to stick a knife in the left hemisphere's ribs.

You may also want to try poetry. That's like recreational reading on steroids: you learn nothing, you don't get another book under your belt: you do nothing but ponder the page. It's a waste. It's a great thing.

Or maybe you can try art appreciation, which is the point of this monster essay at The New Yorker.

The Battle for Attention
How do we hold on to what matters in a distracted age?

One Group's Four-Step Process of Art Appreciation

Four parts: seven minutes each.

First: Encounter: Wander around the art museum, taking in the scene

Second: Attending: Silently give a work of art your full attention

Third: Negation: Clear the work of art from your mind

Fourth: Realizing: Ask yourself, "What does that work of art need?"

Then sit in a corner and write down your thoughts from each session. A little later, meet in a cafe to talk about the experience.

It all strikes you as faggotry (in the Bill Burr sense)? Me too, but these are desperate times that call for desperate measures, maybe even a little faggotry.

The Picture Book: Foe of the Left Hemisphere?
A Medieval Christmas Dollar-for-word, this book is a terrible deal. It’s 28 pages long and, except for a short appendix, every word is merely a paste job from the 2003 Revised Standard Edition (Catholic Edition) of the Bible. And the book costs $44! These publishers oughtta be locked up. But