Attention as the Universal Currency

A resource, or re-source, is anything that enables an entity/system (E/S) to be sourced again.  For anything to be said to exist, its pattern must persist so that overall it endures in space-time.

Attention is a resource, as surely as is air, water, and food.  Babies who are provided with these essentials but not with love and motherly attention fail to thrive.

Some things (quanta, atomic nuclei, electrons, molecules, etc.) need no oxygen, water, or nutrients as resources.  Instead their particular existence requires interaction with something else in the shared spatio-temporal environment.  A particular entity, or Particularity, must be singled-out from its prior potentiality, which is in a mingled-in state comprising two or more eigenvalues (‘eigen’ means inherent; eigenvalues include values of position, momentum, spin).

By focusing attention on one thing, we single it out; we define it as a Particularity.  We withdraw attention from other things, which then mingle into our peripheral awareness.

The one who, or that which, has the capacity to single-out something, actualizing it from its state of mingled-in potentiality, is called, in terms of Quadernity, the INformable (the potential Observer/Creator). This is not to say that Quadernity’s INformable must be a person or anything else with a consciousness similar to the waking human mind; it is to say that an interaction occurs between something already measurable/physical and something that remains immeasurable/metaphysical.  The singled-out entity reacts to, is altered by, or registers a change in its own position, momentum, inertia, density, etc. due to the mingled-in potentiality.

The INformable is itself already actualized.  Anything already singled-out has an inside-space that holds its parts together, a boundary that mediates input and output, and an outside space, or emanating field, which repels unwanted input.  Only input for which there is a receptor at the boundary is welcomed/Pulled into the inside space.

The actualized INformable has the capacity (an unrealized potential in itself) to realize something by paying focused attention to that which otherwise would remain as a mere potential.  In the process of Creation, the one who pays attention can then be acknowledged as the Creator (causal Subject) and the one who receives attention can then be recognized as the Created (effective Object).

The interaction is between these diametrically opposed relata: one relatum is actually quantized already (though the INformable is potentially the Observer/Creator) and the other is still in potentiality (even though the INformative has an actual value, an eigenvalue).  The latter effectively disturbs the former by revealing its inherent value.  If this INformative value is of interest to, or resonates with, the INformable, the two will become entangled.  The relationship of the entangled pair now has a collective inside-space that holds them together, a boundary that mediates between their inputs and outputs, and an outside-space that automatically repels impertinent influences.

Being entangled in a relationship allows, through feedback, for persistent oscillation between potentiality/actuality.  This oscillation is the BECOMING of the actualized Particularity.  Nothing actualized is a static or permanent BEING.  What appears as actualized is something that is Observed with regularity.

An Observer and an Observed are locked in a feedback system as long as they ‘pay’ attention to each other.  Attention is an attunement that produces a tension, which in turn, holds the dual process of INformation and OUTformation together.  Matter makes Patterns visible.  Patterns make Matter meaningful.

Sustained attention enables the Observed Particularity to maintain an eigenstate.  This is its ground state, beneath which it would forfeit its objective Particularity and mingle-in once again with additional eigenvalues.

Observation can be instigated either by one committed Creator/Observer (as the Zero Point Field is for the electro-magnetic field), or by multiple Observers (as capitalists are to stock values).

Can We Afford to Pay Attention?

To focus attention on one thing is to withdraw attention from all else.  To encounter one thing is to discount everything else.  Elevating something to the status of Particularity relegates the periphery to a blurry background.

When we “pay” attention, we are giving prominence and persistence to the recipient, whether an entity, person, condition or idea.  We become its asset, its source of sustainability.  But what do we get in return?

As an adult human being, we are often taken for a well-spring, from which attention can be drawn at any time by anyone.  Does attention flow from us without end, or should we be minding the gateway?

We may donate our attention to those in need, to those we love, and to those we admire, etc.  It is built into mammals of all ages to give ample attention to pregnant mothers, gentle care to little children and assistance to anyone in dire straits.  This is the source of rubber-necking on the highway, why news of horrific tragedies sells, and why people risk their lives to save strangers).

Moment-to-moment, our attention is:

  • urgently demanded: bodily needs, symptoms of distress, emotional triggers, threatening situations (deadlines, responsibilities)
  • overtly solicited: opportunities for sex/love/affection, requests from those who depend on us for attention/love, for community/social involvement, to do chores and fulfill commitments
  • covertly hijacked: advertisers, propaganda, politics, unsolved mysteries, unresolved debates, guilt, disappointments, unfinished business/projects

We routinely sell our attention for hours per day so we can earn a paycheck.  We agree to suspend paying attention to our own interests for 8-10 hours or more per day, and instead, during those hours, pay all of our attention only to the needs and interests of our employer.  This, of course, produces a severe net loss of attentional resources by the end of each work day.  The stress builds as the week progresses.  Stress is the antithesis of a resource.  The reduction of attentional reserves puts a siphon on other reserves.  Reduction in immunity, resilience, vitality are only a few of the consequences.  A two-day weekend is filled with other obligations.  With hardly a recovery, the draining of resources resumes on Monday.  (It is not like this in all countries.)

Unfortunately, youngsters are not given the luxury to question the demands on their attention.  They are forced, by threat of punishment, humiliation, and being drugged, to give their attention where adults direct it, whether or not it seems relative/beneficial to them.

If the lessons to which the kids are forced to give their attention are not made relevant to them and their current interests, the children suffer losses of attentional reserves, and many become chronically depressed.

If we give our attention to someone who (or something that) in return gives us data that costs us more to assimilate than it is worth, we experience a net loss of attentional reserves.  Whenever we attend the meaningless/irrelevant, we sustain a net loss.  Such losses lead to a general imbalance that causes symptoms ranging from lethargy/apathy to distraction/inability-to-focus to agitation/overwhelm, which may then lead to generalized dysfunction and despair.  This disorder has been dubbed Attention Deficit Disorder, or ADD for short.  ADD might be masked, but certainly not solved by stimulant drugs!  Children taking psychoactive drugs for ADD/ADHD and depression can have side-effects including suicide and aggressive behavior.

The amount of attention required FROM us is often greater than the amount of attention given TO us.  When parents sustain attentional losses daily at work and their children sustain net losses daily at school, what could be expected when they all get together at home in the evening?  Each one needs the others to give them attention but none can afford to pay attention in return.  They all have the same need — the same deficit — which causes tensions to escalate on the home front.  Family units are breaking down under the inordinate pressure.

Truly, what do we all want but to be SEEN for who we really are?

We Can Learn to Manage Our Attention Portfolio

To recover from the pandemic called ADD, we must recognize the importance of managing our attention portfolio.  Losses are cut and increases abound when we begin to ask ourselves at every turn, “Can I afford to “pay” attention to this?”  Will this give me a healthy return on my investment?  Or will it merely pacify me temporarily, while compounding my deficit?

Giving attention primarily to whatever maintains our comfort zone or relieves our overwrought mind will hold us hostage to life’s variable conditions and its endless stream of challenges.

Attention is a universal currency.  When we “pay” attention, we need, at least, an adequate, or break-even return on our investment.

Virtuous investments of attention improve our circumstances and lead to happiness, creativity and fulfillment of purpose.

ADD is not an Add-erall deficiency!