Monday, August 6, 2012

Choosing What We Pay Attention To

Monday, August 6, 2012

There is something about David Foster Wallace’s writings that will always resonate with me. I reread his commencement address to the graduates of Kenyon College in 2005 and his words made me think about what I think about:  

“Twenty years after my graduation, I have come gradually to understand that the liberal arts cliché about teaching you how to think is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think.  It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience.  Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed.”

His words make so much sense to me; yet when I think about it, choosing what we pay attention to is not that easy.  Our mind wanders all the time and oftentimes I’m not even aware that I am already dwelling on the things that I do not really want to think about.   How can I exercise vigilance over my thoughts when there are times that I want to simply relinquish consciousness? Choosing what to pay attention to and understanding why I need to pay attention to it need moment-to-moment effort.  But still, I try.

For now I want to pay attention to finding the right words to finish this post. 


Loree said...

My mind is always flitting from one though to another. It's never still. this would be a hard exercise for me.

Arti said...

Amazing words. It requires immense concentration and self discipline to excercise such control over your mind.
Have a beautiful day Angeli :)

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