Attention works like a loose gate. We can’t always control what information sneaks in, nor can we parse the data so it makes sense coming out.
We grind away at the information life throws at us, some of it tangible and worthwhile but most it nonsense.
Like a Google search, the stuff worth keeping is like finding a needle in a haystack. When we discover something of value, it sticks. We share the knowledge with others, recasting it as our own.
Yet, our minds remain terrible aggregators. Who’s in charge, the thinker or the thought?
It’s impossible to unhear and unsee things — conversations, teacher’s lessons, tweets — without getting sucked into the commercialization of attention. The public sphere promotes mindless chatter, so rationalization sinks to the bottom.
The race to become synchronized with the mainstream prevents the interrogation of ideas. The noisy flood of information buffers thought until finally, the chaos settles to the bottom. And pieces of clarity return, unstuck from the confident idiots.