46 min

The power of attention in a world of distraction The Gray Area with Sean Illing

    • Philosophy

Sean Illing talks with Michael Sacasas, an author and teacher exploring the relationship between technology and society in his newsletter, The Convivial Society. This conversation is all about attention: what it exactly is, what its purpose is, and how it is under threat by the technology of modern society and its ubiquitous distractions. Michael calls upon venerated philosophers (like Simone Weil and Iris Murdoch) as well as contemporary writers (like Nicholas Carr and Jenny Odell) to make the case that figuring out how to command our attention is a matter of great moral significance, and is a crucial component of living a good life.

Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), host, The Gray Area
Guest: L. Michael Sacasas (@LMSacasas), author of the newsletter The Convivial Society on Substack; associate director, Christian Study Center of Gainesville
References: 


The Frailest Thing: Ten Years of Thinking About the Meaning of Technology by L.M. Sacasas (Gumroad; 2019)


"Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut (1961)


"Is Google Making Us Stupid?" by Nicholas Carr (The Atlantic; July/August 2008)


Understanding Media by Marshall McLuhan (1964)


Blaise Pascal on Diversion, from the Pensées (1670)


"Reflections on the Right Use of School Studies with a View to the Love of God" by Simone Weil (1942)

"The idea of perfection" by Iris Murdoch (1964)


"Against Dryness" by Iris Murdoch (1961)

Simone Weil, letter to Joë Bousquet, Apr. 13, 1942: "Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity."


"On Two Ways of Relating to the World" by L.M. Sacasas (The Convivial Society, Nov. 22)


How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell (Melville House; 2019)

 
Enjoyed this episode? Rate The Gray Area ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and leave a review on Apple Podcasts.
Subscribe for free. Be the first to hear the next episode of The Gray Area. Subscribe in your favorite podcast app.
Support The Gray Area by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts
This episode was made by: 


Producer: Erikk Geannikis


Editor: Amy Drozdowska


Engineer: Patrick Boyd


Senior Producer: Katelyn Bogucki


Editorial Director, Vox Talk: A.M. Hall


Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Sean Illing talks with Michael Sacasas, an author and teacher exploring the relationship between technology and society in his newsletter, The Convivial Society. This conversation is all about attention: what it exactly is, what its purpose is, and how it is under threat by the technology of modern society and its ubiquitous distractions. Michael calls upon venerated philosophers (like Simone Weil and Iris Murdoch) as well as contemporary writers (like Nicholas Carr and Jenny Odell) to make the case that figuring out how to command our attention is a matter of great moral significance, and is a crucial component of living a good life.

Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), host, The Gray Area
Guest: L. Michael Sacasas (@LMSacasas), author of the newsletter The Convivial Society on Substack; associate director, Christian Study Center of Gainesville
References: 


The Frailest Thing: Ten Years of Thinking About the Meaning of Technology by L.M. Sacasas (Gumroad; 2019)


"Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut (1961)


"Is Google Making Us Stupid?" by Nicholas Carr (The Atlantic; July/August 2008)


Understanding Media by Marshall McLuhan (1964)


Blaise Pascal on Diversion, from the Pensées (1670)


"Reflections on the Right Use of School Studies with a View to the Love of God" by Simone Weil (1942)

"The idea of perfection" by Iris Murdoch (1964)


"Against Dryness" by Iris Murdoch (1961)

Simone Weil, letter to Joë Bousquet, Apr. 13, 1942: "Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity."


"On Two Ways of Relating to the World" by L.M. Sacasas (The Convivial Society, Nov. 22)


How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell (Melville House; 2019)

 
Enjoyed this episode? Rate The Gray Area ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and leave a review on Apple Podcasts.
Subscribe for free. Be the first to hear the next episode of The Gray Area. Subscribe in your favorite podcast app.
Support The Gray Area by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts
This episode was made by: 


Producer: Erikk Geannikis


Editor: Amy Drozdowska


Engineer: Patrick Boyd


Senior Producer: Katelyn Bogucki


Editorial Director, Vox Talk: A.M. Hall


Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

46 min

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