Thoughts on Time, Social Media and the Generosity of Attention

Attention ist the rarest and purest form of generosity.
– Simone Weil

 

Attention ist the rarest form of generosity, because it´s obviously rarely given, and as most rare things, it´s valuebale. The price ist paid with the most precious currency humans have: time.

Time is pitilessly constantly dripping away, no one has enough of it and therefore people tend to be very pitilessly and miserly with everything that costs time. Especially in our modern days society emphasis speed at the cost of depth, chasing the illusion of saving time this way. Texts, books, new products and even relationships and human interactions are consumed quickly, merely scanned and replaced even quicker. In this fast paced world, we often forget to pay attention, not only to politics, but also to our fellow humans. We distract ourselves with a constant stream of often trivial informations, so we don´t have to spend time and energy on thinking about or paying attention to important and often difficult topics or human interactions. We get more and more used to stare on our screens, instead in the eyes of other humans or facing reality. Everyone lives in it´s one bubble. We withdraw ourselves from natural social interactions, till they become strange to us and we are alienated to our neighbors.

Like the river carves the rock, our actings carve our habits and our habits carve our personalities and alle personalities combined form and carve society.

And so society gets colder, more detached from itself and numbed out.

Devoting undivided attention to someone is dedicating a piece of ones valuebale lifetime completly to him or her. This is one of the most generous acts a human is capable of doing, especially in our times. It warms and humanizes the world.

Money can be replaced quickly and thrown around with a shrug, if its avaible, and it can be earned again, if it´s gone. Likes or short texted messages, are thinly digitalsmoke worth nothing but maybe a few cheap seconds and zero thoughts, fading away quickly in the digital abyss and forgotten almost immediatly, leaving nothing than a shallow impression. But the time you a give to someone listening,  will never come back or fade away again.

How much are your fellow humans and loved ones worth for you? How often have you given a „Like“ or a brief, shallow textmessage to a friend or familiy member, just to soothe your bad conscience, instead of really talking and listening to him/her? Think about it.

I don´t pledge for abolishing social media or even the internet, nor i want to blame them for anything.

They are great inventions, which have done so much for freeing and educating and connecting humanity. The issue is with humans.

I pledge for questioning our use of this technologies.

Are likes and shares really worth something? How well do you know your neighbores? When was the last time, you had a real, deep conversation with someone instead of just a shallow, quick smalltalk or textexchange? When was the last time you really relaxed instead of consuming and spreading the idea of relaxation by rushing into a hollidaytrip, taking instagram pictures, and rushing back to work? Do just pretend to be happy or are you really happy and satisfied like you and everyone else appears on social media? Have you played a pointless smartphone game, instead of thinking about the coming election?

Or in a nutshell: When was the last time you paid real attention to yourself, your enviroment, your loved ones or the world in general? When was the last time you used your time reasonable?

It would be tragic, if the technologies, which were invented for connecting people, would finally divide and separate humans.

 

 


 

 

 

 

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