Before talking about attention crisis, let me share a small story:
Forget quietly being around nature, I am preoccupied with my own thoughts so much that I am now unable to quietly sleep even in the comfort of my bed.
Observing the dynamics of clouds and stars are the things of past now, I can’t even observe the movements of sparrows and pigeons that dwell right in front of my eyes.
But this morning, it all changed as I walked around my room with a cup of tea in hand and stared out of the window. It’s not that I rarely stare out of windows. In fact, I do so a lot. But I hardly see anything outside. It’s always about my own murky reflection of myself. Once again, due to self preoccupation! I temporarily spot houses, their owners, the birds, the street, before going back to the self reflection.
This morning though — after a long long time — my eyes halted at pigeons and sparrows fidgeting around at the roof of my neighbor. And then I started to curiously observe and enjoy their activities. All of a sudden the mirror shattered as I felt a connection with those birds, and my anxieties vanished: allowing the elusive joy to grace me. And then I looked around, and noticed a crow. And then I started wondering what bird-politics might be going around among those three species. I also noticed the bleak morning moon in the western sky.
Observing such I reached to a conclusion:
The ability to understand things in real time is more important than the ability to know facts.
I was lost in these sights and observations, when the mirror came back and THERE: I was back inside my own head!
Obsessive thoughts are gradual, I have noticed. If you have been constantly obsessing over say, your fame-magnitude — and one day you are involved in a recreational activity like swimming managing to be away from those thoughts for a while — when the obsession returns (the fame problems) it won’t appear in extreme. It occurs gradually.
First, they will bring the most common factors between swimming and fame and then gradually they will take you to a point where swimming will seem a futile pursuit unless you take your phone out, take a self photo and upload it with proper tags in your social media. If you can’t do that, the act of swimming will get chaotic.
Similarly, in my case, as I enjoyed the observation, the entry-thought was: You can’t attain this feeling through philosophy. Hence, the latter is sucking the life out of you. It merely talks about abstract things that have no significance in real life. Drop it now!
But thankfully and luckily an argument came up:
It is not the task of philosophy to generate these feelings. You don’t do philosophy for that. You do it to be capable enough to achieve these feelings.