(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘GOOD

“To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work”*…

The Attention Economy…

“Attention discourse” is how I usually refer to the proliferation of essays, articles, talks, and books around the problem of attention (or, alternatively, distraction) in the age of digital media. While there have been important precursors to digital age attention discourse dating back to the 19th century, I’d say the present iteration probably kicked off around 2008 with Nick Carr’s essay in the Atlantic, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” And while disinformation discourse has supplanted its place in the public imagination over the past few years, attention discourse is alive and well…

Attention discourse proceeds under the sign of scarcity. It treats attention as a resource, and, by doing so, maybe it has given up the game. To speak about attention as a resource is to grant and even encourage its commodification. If attention is scarce, then a competitive attention economy flows inevitably from it. In other words, to think of attention as a resource is already to invite the possibility that it may be extracted. Perhaps this seems like the natural way of thinking about attention, but, of course, this is precisely the kind of certainty [Ivan Illich] invited us to question…  

His crusade against the colonization of experience by economic rationality led him not only to challenge the assumption of scarcity and defend the realm of the vernacular, he also studiously avoided the language of “values” in favor of talk about the “good.” He believed that the good could be established by observing the requirements of proportionality or complementarity in a given moment or situation. The good was characterized by its fittingness. Illich sometimes characterized it as a matter of answering a call as opposed to applying a rule. 

“The transformation of the good into values,” he answers, “of commitment into decision, of question into problem, reflects a perception that our thoughts, our ideas, and our time have become resources, scarce means which can be used for either of two or several alternative ends. The word value reflects this transition, and the person who uses it incorporates himself in a sphere of scarcity.”

A little further on in the conversation, Illich explains that value is “a generalization of economics. It says, this is a value, this is a nonvalue, make a decision between the two of them. These are three different values, put them in precise order.” “But,” he goes on to explain, “when we speak about the good, we show a totally different appreciation of what is before us. The good is convertible with being, convertible with the beautiful, convertible with the true.”…

Your Attention Is Not a Resource“: L.M. Sacasas (@LMSacasas) wields Illich to argue that “you and I have exactly as much attention as we need.”

(image above: source)

* Mary Oliver


As we go for the good, we might recall that it was on his date in 1965 that NASA launched Hughes Aircraft’s Early Bird (now known officially as Intelsat I) into orbit. It was the first communications satellite to be placed in synchronous earth orbit– and successfully demonstrated their (subsequently explosively growing) use for commercial communications.

“Early Bird” being prepared


Knowing the cost of everything and the worth of…

The price of gasoline is, as we experience it, an altogether artificial construct. What we pay is only marginally about the actual cost of the refined crude.  The price is hugely affected by the hand of government(s): on the one hand, there’s the burden of heavy taxation; and on the other, the (usually “invisible”) subsidies afforded in the provision of drilling rights, military protection, etc.  Still, it’s painful to pause at the pump…  and it’s getting more so.

The good folks at GOOD have ridden to the rescue with a little perspective, “Gallon to Gallon“: a comparison of the per gallon cost of a number of things that we routinely consume…

click the image above, or here, for a larger version

[TotH to Flowing Data]

As we are more cautious in our choice of nail color, we might wish a speedy birthday to Danica Patrick, the first woman to win an IndyCar Series race, America’s top level of open-wheel racing; she was born on this date in 1982 in Beloit, Wisconsin.  Patrick, who trained in England and the U.S. was named Indy Car Rookie of the Year in 2005, and won her first race– the Indy Japan 300 at Twin Ring Montegi in Montegi, Japan– in 2008.  She continues to compete, and has found time to appear as a celebrity endorser for for a number of companies, perhaps most famously, the web domain purveyor GoDaddy.


%d bloggers like this: