Happiness is neither without us nor within us. It is in God, both without us and within us.

~ Blaise Pascal ~

Getting Your Attention

January 12th, 2014 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 18 secs

Don't listen to 'em.

Don’t listen to ’em.

Hey look! Sex! Celebrity! Violence! Action! Shock! Cash! Getting your attention is the currency of our times.

Don’t think that because it’s urgent, it’s important. When it comes to media announcements, that is seldom so. Instead, the mundane or vanilla average is jazzed up to look like something significant. Only, everybody knows they are tricking.

Getting your attention is, after all, big business, and it’s not just the media who do it to distraction. Advertisers are the consummate experts in turning a roll of toilet paper into a gentle slow motion romantic dance through the fields. Or, a rough idling, smoke belching, slab of vinyl and metal into “a real man’s car”. Right...

If we are the casualties of this awful communication crime, the injuries inflicted are upon truth and our time. Speaking of the latter, consider how many hours, days, months or more are wasted in your life by attention grabbing advertising that doesn’t even relate to you.

I don’t want to know about how absorbent nappies are (well, at least, not now that our boys have grown up). Nor do I want to win a once in a lifetime trip to Tasmania (because I already live there). And, if I have to endure another brutally violent movie trailer at the cinema, I think I’m going to close my eyes, block my ears and go, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” to drown it out.

The engine behind all of this attention seeking is purely pecuniary and it wildly disrespects not only our time but our thought life. Although we’ve come to accept it as a modern fact of living, I wonder how we’d feel if dozens of random strangers rushed up to us every day shouting things like, “You know you’ve got bad breath. So try taking Stink Mints instead”Hey! Have you sorted out your finances/retirement/funeral/underwater wedding yet?” or, “You know you’d be a whole lot sexier if you drank worthless sticky brown liquid from a can?”

It wouldn’t be very funny after the fiftieth time when you’re running to catch a bus, or can’t get your car started and some snake oil salesman rocks up to specially announce the latest miracle anti-flatulence tablet (just for you).

Beneath all this nonsense are some serious issues. Quality of life is being eroded by the onslaught of the sincerest form of insincerity humanity has ever known. We’ve become hardened (cynical, if you will) to the mistruths and deceit we continually see and, sadly, it is continuing to erode our trust.

You might think it is for the better. But me? I feel we are being used and it’s an unacceptable abuse of our good will, basic human trust, and susceptibilities.

Hardly happy thoughts, I know. Yet, I believe it’s good to name these perpetrators and highlight that we deserve to have our own thought life kept free  (not hijacked by unscrupulous product-pushing men in shiny suits).

So when I say you need to create times of quietude for yourself, this is one good reason why. You deserve to preserve that inner sanctum of safety where you can feel at ease with your thoughts and unencumbered by anyone trying to steal your precious attention.

Peace to you.

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