William James on attention

“It is an odd circumstance that neither the old nor the new, by itself, is interesting; the absolutely old is insipid; the absolutely new makes no appeal at all. The old in the rim, is what claims the attention,—the old with a slightly new turn.”

— William James


Nothing too new, nothing too old. Recast the past, turning something familiar into something novel. Nothing too obscure is worthy of excitement.

Chapter 11 Talks To Teachers

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By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of and four books.