Where you casually attempt to direct people’s attention to is… Very informational. The most common case of attention control, one might think, is to direct it to myself. Oh look at me, look at what fancy words I can write in a blog, spend your precious time reading my blog and loving or hating me more for it as a result (and send me free money).
Whether my drive to write this blog is motivated by some internal desire to impress you or someone else or no one at all – can I know for sure? I don’t know. What I do imagine happens after I post this, however – about 2 of you read it, 7 of you skim it (yes, I am flattering myself here), and the rest of the world will never find out and nothing happens due to it.
I don’t write with a fantasy in which my words will end up changing or moving or destroying or creating something. I don’t think it will impress anyone, and I don’t think anyone will be hypnotized enough to send me free money after this.
Now that we’ve put this aside, let’s get down to business. What are the possible ways people use their power over someone else’s attention? You can command someone else’s attention – what they see, what they hear – what they pay attention to (and, one might think, as Nth order effects, they might also do something, accordingly, decide something differently etc).
What we use this command for seems to depend on different situations, too. Sometimes you see danger headed your way – and you warning someone close to you is commanding their attention to said danger – so they can save themselves. That’s a good way of commanding attention.
Back to egoistic pursuits, often people attempt to grab the attention of others to direct it on themselves – look at me, look at what I have done, look at what I have had to put up with. Okay, you have my attention, now what? What do you want? Because in such cases, I would say, people want more than just attention – they want something out of you. Maybe it’s praise, acknowledgement, validation, a pat on the back, or maybe they want money or greater securities.
Another case in which attention is grabbed in aggressive manners would be to try to direct people’s attention to something you DO… Or some of your ideology. A quick manifesto. You want them to pay attention – and maybe you tell to yourself that this is only to INFORM the people, and they are free to choose themself, but on the other hand – you think your manifesto rings so true that everyone who lays their eyes on it (in the proper way) will of course be seduced by it and convert over-night. And that, too, would be to your benefit or whoever the actual overlord, the figure in the shadows, unbeknownst to you – perhaps a dark god, is.
There can also be cases in which you want to divert the attention away from yourself. You have made a terrible mistake and you don’t want people looking at it – so you instinctively pick the juiciest fruit around (someone else’s embarrassing situation, perhaps – I suspect this is actually how people become butts of jokes) – and snip their finger, and all the eyes and ears turn… Many times, unsuccessfully so, though. They either are bad at commanding attention or they just didn’t find anything that’s more attention-grabbing than their own current blunder.
In more neutral terms we might command attention towards ideas or some facts – sometimes to just have a conversation (I can’t understand my husband and his brother having an hour long conversation about servers, just bouncing some information off each other what they could simply just google and live on – but hey, he explained to me that people do this just to have a conversation – who knew? MEN!?).
I think it is also possible to command attention without making it about yourself, though. Maybe I am missing something, but I do think I have tried to exercise it myself – not that I planned it in any way – it’s just something that happens naturally.
It is easy to happen naturally when we see something miraculous, unique, interesting, original, magical. Oh my, look at that – you share a sight of wonder and claim no credit for it. Or you share a wonderful idea and attribute it to the correct author. Or you point out an interesting phenomenon and what it could mean, without claiming you have figured out what it’s all about and now you shall be known as the overlord of…
We can’t own what we see in nature – although we sometimes seem to like to think that it is a skill to “notice” something – I don’t know, maybe it is – but my attention didn’t really put it there, did it? In this sense photography is an interesting “art” – if it is an art. Of course, it takes talent, patience and luck to capture the most wonderful frames – the photographer himself (or herself), in a sense, is part of the composition – but the good kind know and worship the source where it comes from, and regard credit less for themselves – even though someone looking at these photos surely would say, wow, what a talented photographer.
Any photographer that doesn’t attribute their best shots to luck is possibly a person who has no sense – and I’d say most their photos really suck – they are deluded and see the world differently. They must literally be hallucinating, over-confident in their skill and completely unaware of the random elements in nature photos.
And hey I am not talking about studio and product photos where all the light, models and environment are under clinical control – but go ahead and show me a studio photo that is somehow so mind-blowing I can reward a brilliant photographer – I have not seen any.
There’s one more kind of attention commander I was thinking about when I started writing. I feel a little disgusted when I think about it, because they try to deceive. And the more obvious their attempt at deception – the more pitiful it looks. These people shout something out as if to direct your attention towards some idea or matter, but covertly they really are trying to direct you to THEIR ideas, THEIR content, THEM.
I’m not judging. Maybe it’s not wrong to do it this way – how the fuck would I knpw? But I can’t help it – it’s double-disgusting, they are sneaky and try to hide the fact that they want some attention (or as stated in the case back in the beginning, in the Nth order – validation and blah blah blah).
If you want people to pay attention to your stuff, at least be honest about it. Anyone who isn’t – it just fucking reeks through. Now, whether I myself here am being stinky or just vomiting words that kinda look like sentences that kinda look like some sort of coherent idea – can I really judge myself? I don’t know and I don’t care. I don’t currently have anything interesting to sell anyway.
Good night you lazy skimmers!