Minding Our Minds   /   Summer 2014   /    Minding Our Minds

Pay Attention!

Mark Edmundson

Sam Hundley

Are we immersing ourselves too far deep into the land where Whirl is King? Have we lost our ability to pay attention? Are we, too, going nuts?

Pay attention! How much about our current situation, our life and times, may be locked in that simple and rather commonplace instruction? Pay attention! To have been a student—and most of us have been—is no doubt to have heard the phrase directed at you. To be a parent or teacher (or doctor, or lawyer, or judge or cop or priest or minister or imam) is inevitably to utter the curt imperative: pay attention!

Is the phrase more common now than it was a decade or two ago? One wouldn’t be surprised if it were. For attention has become a critical term at the center of a multitude of social issues and human concerns. We of the elder generation are disposed to worry about the fragmented minds of the younger. We wonder if texting-while-viewing-while-talking-while-eating and never being in the same place at the same time may be having a deleterious effect on the young. Are they incapable of concerted focus? Are they unable to sit and think? Have they been driven (by distraction) to distraction?

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