Infinite Distraction

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Author: Dominic Pettman

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 1509502289

Category: Philosophy

Page: 140

View: 4485

It is often argued that contemporary media homogenize our thoughts and actions, without us being fully aware of the restrictions they impose. But what if the problem is not that we are all synchronized to the same motions or moments, but rather dispersed into countless different emotional micro-experiences? What if the effect of so-called social media is to calibrate the interactive spectacle so that we never fully feel the same way as other potential allies at the same time? While one person is fuming about economic injustice or climate change denial, another is giggling at a cute cat video. And, two hours late, vice versa. The nebulous indignation which constitutes the very fuel of true social change can be redirected safely around the network, avoiding any dangerous surges of radical activity. In this short and provocative book, Dominic Pettman examines the deliberate deployment of what he calls hypermodulation, as a key strategy encoded into the contemporary media environment. His account challenges the various narratives that portray social media as a sinister space of synchronized attention, in which we are busily clicking ourselves to death. This critical reflection on the unprecedented power of the Internet requires us to rethink the potential for infinite distraction that our latest technologies now allow.

Distraction

Problems of Attention in Eighteenth-Century Literature

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Author: Natalie M. Phillips

Publisher: JHU Press

ISBN: 1421420139

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 304

View: 9155

Early novel reading typically conjures images of rapt readers in quiet rooms, but commentators at the time described reading as a fraught activity, one occurring amidst a distracting cacophony that included sloshing chamber pots and wailing street vendors. Auditory distractions were compounded by literary ones as falling paper costs led to an explosion of print material, forcing prose fiction to compete with a dizzying array of essays, poems, sermons, and histories. In Distraction, Natalie M. Phillips argues that prominent Enlightenment authors—from Jane Austen and William Godwin to Eliza Haywood and Samuel Johnson—were deeply engaged with debates about the wandering mind, even if they were not equally concerned about the problem of distractibility. Phillips explains that some novelists in the 1700s—viewing distraction as a dangerous wandering from singular attention that could lead to sin or even madness—attempted to reform diverted readers. Johnson and Haywood, for example, worried that contemporary readers would only focus long enough to "look into the first pages" of essays and novels; Austen offered wry commentary on the issue through the creation of the daft Lydia Bennet, a character with an attention span so short she could listen only "half-a-minute." Other authors radically redefined distraction as an excellent quality of mind, aligning the multiplicity of divided focus with the spontaneous creation of new thought. Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy, for example, won audiences with its comically distracted narrator and uniquely digressive form. Using cognitive science as a framework to explore the intertwined history of mental states, philosophy, science, and literary forms, Phillips explains how arguments about the diverted mind made their way into the century’s most celebrated literature. She also draws a direct link between the disparate theories of focus articulated in eighteenth-century literature and modern experiments in neuroscience, revealing that contemporary questions surrounding short attention spans are grounded in long conversations over the nature and limits of focus.

Being and the Between

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Author: William Desmond

Publisher: SUNY Press

ISBN: 1438400934

Category: Philosophy

Page: 557

View: 8565

This is the culmination of a systematic metaphysics written by a world-class philosopher, demonstrating the need for a renewal of metaphysics.

A Dictionary of the English Language

In which the Words are Deduced from Their Originals, and Illustrated in Their Different Significations, by Examples from the Best Writers, to which are Prefixed a History of the Language, and an English Grammar

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Author: Samuel Johnson

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: N.A

Category: English language

Page: N.A

View: 5627

The Youth's Companion

Or An Historical Dictionary; Consisting of Articles Selected Chiefly from Natural and Civil History, Geography, Astronomy, Zoology, Botany and Mineralogy; Arranged in Alphabetical Order

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Author: Ezra Sampson

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: N.A

Category: Encyclopedias and dictionaries

Page: 424

View: 9777