[iDC] A primer on the Attention (Centered) Economy

John Hopkins jhopkins at tech-no-mad.net
Fri Oct 23 23:37:45 UTC 2009

JB et al

> You seem to be pleased to imagine that I don't realize that baby's are 
> born with no cash on hand. After correcting my supposed misconception 


> stating the obvious from your neutral and universal standpoint  -- 
> located, perhaps, at michaelgoldhaber.blogspot.com. 

I don't understand your deep dislike for the idea that an individual has a POV 
(and expresses it)?  This seems to be an issue with academics who believe that 
there is some convergent point in The Word that will explain all things 
(parallel to the misguided notion that there would one day be a Unified Field 
Theory for physics that would explain all the cosmos and all it holds): that 
historical textual precedence is of more value that present lived be-ing.

> We might agree that if  in an argument the first premise is wrong, 
> everything that follows is without logical basis. Here are your words: 


> capitalist domination exposes a fundamental lack of understanding with 
> respect to Marxism's critical practice. We must regard appearances with 

The Marxist frame of approaching Be-ing is reified: any external system or POV 
adopted by an individual as an explanation for what s/he experiences has been 
reified by the means of reductive transfer of impressions from the Other.  (That 
Other being either an individual who trusted their own originary perceptions of 
the world and reduced them to text or that Other being someone who read someone 
else's reduced perceptions of the world and who wrote about those reduced 
perceptions (ad infinitum).  The only way around this is to work to trust ones 
own presence and experience and make a self-generated POV.  I find the 
reification around Marxist (and all deeply materialist political thought, for 
that matter) to be tiresome, worn out, and ultimately NOT the answer to the 
problems that we face -- especially when it seems to come from a distinct 
inability to take life on more directly and without so much pre-conception and 
pre-tension (filled with the ideas of others).  It is that accumulation, all of 
it, that got us here, now.

(and, by-the-way, Marx's critical practice was to write about things while 
receiving money from business...)  (If you have children you know the value: "Do 
as I say, not as I do")

If you can't live a fully engaged and vivifying life without subtracting the 
influence of one or more texts from your POV, filling it in with your own 
impressions, then what's the point?

I applaud Michael for providing a nuanced and evolving idiosyncratic POV.  It's 
rare on this list that this occurs.

> suspicion. The dialectic vitiates the objectivity of objects. Lukacs 
> gets this aspect of Marx's thought more clearly writing,  "underneath 
> the cloak of a thing lay a relation between men." That's what the child

Can you describe, based on your own lived experience (not Marx's) what you 
consider this "relation" consists of or IS?  (I do gather, maybe I'm wrong, that 
you don't have children of your own).

> is, a relation between "men," except of course (and this is a point that 


> relation to history. So too does the observer's interpretation of what 
> s/he sees, emphatically so when these observations are submitted as 
> evidence.

Don't forget the affect of the observer on that-which-is-observed in that 
relational system...

> Today society (and this includes parents) provides for babies vis-a-vis 
> a relation to the world-market. Grasping the baby in such a naive way as 


> attention, Goldhaber sees the orchid and simply wants to pick it up and 
> put it in his hair. While there may be a market for such 
> oversimplifications, it laughable to claim that they further the cause 
> of socialism.

I think your POV is so deeply entrenched in a traditional materialist 'take' 
that you are missing some fundamentals here.  Attention is a basic (and 
incomplete reductive) expression for the directed flow of energy between 
self-organized systems.  A child is a phenomena that occurs independent of 
socialization -- sure, the process of coming-to-be is highly affected by the 
presences of the Techno-social system, but the life-form also has primary 
(evolutionary) systems in place to deal with the plethora of directed flows that 
it is immersed within (from conception, or before, as life is a continuous 
phenomena the emergence of we know little if anything about).  The 
child-as-life-form is in deep relation with all these flows and it is correct, 
using Michael's model of attention that the child has a a priori relation to 
"attracting attention."

What else is history than the cumulative distortions of flows that Life has 
imposed on the localized system we call Terra?  In that sense, Life is 
trans-historical, and each individual, as an temporalized expression of that 
ongoing phenomena IS trans-historical at the same time as they are contributing 
to the accumulative of distortions (or if you want a more neutral framing, 
accumulation of difference).


More information about the iDC mailing list