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【Aeon】不要利用碎片时间

2019-09-19来源:中企健康汇



大量商家和时间管理文章告诉我们,一定要好好把握碎片时间,碎片时间拉开人生差距。于是在焦虑与压力下,大家不敢浪费一分一秒,在每一个间隙纷纷拿出手机进行学习或工作。但这些碎片时间真的必须要"做点什么"吗?我们的注意力不仅是工具,更是一种与外界连接的方式。有时放空自我,没有目的性地感受,有着更重要的意义。


不要利用碎片时间


作者:Dan Nixon

译者:何翔宇 & 张松

校对:高浦铭

策划:郭嘉宁


Attention is not a resource but a way of being alive to the world

注意力不是资源,而是一种探索世界的方式


本文选自 Aeon | 取经号原创翻译

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‘We are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom.’ Those were the words of the American biologist E O Wilson at the turn of the century. Fastforward to the smartphone era, and it’s easy to believe that our mental lives are now more fragmentary and scattered than ever. The ‘attention economy’ is a phrase that’s often used to make sense of what’s going on: it puts our attention as a limited resource at the centre of the informational ecosystem, with our various alerts and notifications locked in a constant battle to capture it.

“世人被知识淹没,却缺乏智慧。”这是美国生物学家爱德华·威尔逊(E O Wilson)在世纪之交时的发声。快步奔向智能手机时代,我们的精神生活变得比以往更加零碎和分散。“注意力经济”一词时常用来阐述现状:我们的注意力作为有限的资源放置在信息生态系统的中心,各种通知和提示争相占有之。


That’s a helpful narrative in a world of information overload, and one in which our devices and apps are intentionally designed to get us hooked. Moreover, besides our own mental wellbeing, the attention economy offers a way of looking at some important social problems: from the worrying declines in measures of empathy through to the ‘weaponisation’ of social media.

在这个信息过载的世界,这一描述是种积极的说法,各种设备和应用程序诱使我们沉溺其中。除了对我们精神生活造成影响,“注意力经济”还让我们审视重要的社会问题:同理心丢失令人忧虑,社交媒体变得武器化。


The problem, though, is that this narrative assumes a certain kind of attention. An economy, after all, deals with how to allocate resources efficiently in the service of specific objectives (such as maximising profit). Talk of the attention economy relies on the notion of attention-as-resource: our attention is to be applied in the service of some goal, which social media and other ills are bent on diverting us from. Our attention, when we fail to put it to use for our own objectives, becomes a tool to be used and exploited by others. 

但是问题在于,这种“注意力经济”的观点给注意力贴上了特定的标签。一个经济体要做的是有效地分配资源,实现特定目标(如利润最大化)。“注意力经济”将注意力看作资源,我们用它来完成特定目标。但社交媒体和其他诱惑却想将注意力从这些目标中移走。当这种情况发生时,注意力就会变成一种供他人利用的工具。


However, conceiving of attention as a resource misses the fact that attention is not just useful. It’s more fundamental than that: attention is what joins us with the outside world. ‘Instrumentally’ attending is important, sure. But we also have the capacity to attend in a more ‘exploratory’ way: to be truly open to whatever we find before us, without any particular agenda.

然而,把注意力看作一种资源忽略了这样一个事实:注意力不仅仅是有用的。注意力将我们与外部世界联系在一起,这才是更为重要的。将“注意力”作为工具使用固然重要,但我们也可以将其用来探索世界:对面前的一切敞开心扉,漫无目的神游其中。


During a recent trip to Japan, for example, I found myself with a few unplanned hours to spend in Tokyo. Stepping out into the busy district of Shibuya, I wandered aimlessly amid the neon signs and crowds of people. My senses met the wall of smoke and the cacophony of sound as I passed through a busy pachinko parlour. For the entire morning, my attention was in ‘exploratory’ mode. That stood in contrast to, say, when I had to focus on navigating the metro system later that day.

最近一次日本之行中,我在东京有几个小时的自由时光。走出涩谷繁华的商业区,在霓虹灯与人群中漫无目的地闲逛。当我经过一个繁忙的弹球游戏厅时,我被笼罩在浓烟和刺耳的声音中。整个上午,我都处于探索模式中。这与我晚些时候专注于地铁导航时的状态形成了鲜明对比。

Cacophony/kə'kɒf(ə)nɪ/ n. You can describe a loud, unpleasant mixture of sounds as a cacophony 刺耳的声音


Treating attention as a resource, as implied by the attention-economy narrative, tells us only half of the overall story – specifically, the left half. According to the British psychiatrist and philosopher Iain McGilchrist, the brain’s left and right hemispheres ‘deliver’ the world to us in two fundamentally different ways. An instrumental mode of attention, McGilchrist contends, is the mainstay of the brain’s left hemisphere, which tends to divide up whatever it’s presented with into component parts: to analyse and categorise things so that it can utilise them towards some ends.

按“注意力经济”的观点把注意力当作一种资源,只实现了注意力一半的功能,具体地说是“左半的一边”。英国精神病学家和哲学家伊恩·麦克吉尔克里斯(Iain McGilchrist)发现,大脑的左右半球把世界以两种完全不同的方式呈现给我们。他认为,注意力处于“工具”状态时是大脑左半球在运作,左脑会将呈现的事物分析和归类,分成若干部分再进行处理。


By contrast, the brain’s right hemisphere naturally adopts an exploratory mode of attending: a more embodied awareness, one that is open to whatever makes itself present before us, in all its fullness. This mode of attending comes into play, for instance, when we pay attention to other people, to the natural world and to works of art. None of those fare too well if we attend to them as a means to an end. And it is this mode of paying attention, McGilchrist argues, that offers us the broadest possible experience of the world.

与之相反,大脑的右半球自然地采用了探索性的注意力模式。这是一种体验式意识,对呈现在我们面前的事物完全开放。这种模式会出现在我们关注他人、欣赏自然世界和艺术品时。如果将注意力当做工具,我们在这些情境下的感悟肯定不会太好。麦克吉尔克里斯认为,正是这种探索模式,引领我们体验最宏伟的世界。


So, as well as attention-as-resource, it’s important that we retain a clear sense of attention-as-experience. I believe that’s what the American philosopher William James had in mind in 1890 when he wrote that ‘what we attend to is reality’: the simple but profound idea that what we pay attention to, and how we pay attention, shapes our reality, moment to moment, day to day, and so on.

所以,除了把注意力当作资源,我们要明白注意力可以用来感受世界。这就是1890年美国哲学家威廉·詹姆斯“我们关注的是现实”所想表达的:我们关注什么,我们如何关注,这些简单而深刻的想法,无时无刻不在塑造着我们的现实。


It is also the exploratory mode of attention that can connect us to our deepest sense of purpose. Just note how many noninstrumental forms of attention practice lie at the heart of many spiritual traditions. In Awareness Bound and Unbound (2009), the American Zen teacher David Loy characterises an unenlightened existence (samsara) as simply the state in which one’s attention becomes ‘trapped’ as it grasps from one thing to another, always looking for the next thing to latch on to. Nirvana, for Loy, is simply a free and open attention that is completely liberated from such fixations. Meanwhile, Simone Weil, the French Christian mystic, saw prayer as attention ‘in its pure form’; she wrote that the ‘authentic and pure’ values in the activity of a human being, such as truth, beauty and goodness, all result from a particular application of full attention.

而且,也正是探索性的注意力才能让我们和自己内心最深的使命感相连。想想有多少非功能性注意力的实践处于许多宗教传统中的核心位置吧。在《觉悟束缚与解脱》(2009)中,美国禅宗老师戴维·洛伊(David Loy)将一个不开悟的存在状态(即轮回)简单地描述为一个人的注意力在从一件事物到另一件事物的过程中被"困住"的状态,总是在寻找下一件可以依附的事物。按照洛伊的说法,涅槃只是一种完全从这种固定模式中解脱出来的自由和开放的注意力。与此同时,法国基督教神秘主义者西蒙娜·韦尔(Simone Weil)将祈祷视为“纯粹状态”的关注; 她写道,人类活动中的“真实和纯粹”的价值,如真、美和善,都是在人们保持了特殊的全神贯注后而产生的结果。

Fixation /fɪk'seɪʃ(ə)n/ n,stereotyped behavior (as in response to frustration)


The problem, then, is twofold. First, the deluge of stimuli competing to grab our attention almost certainly inclines us towards instant gratification. This crowds out space for the exploratory mode of attention. When I get to the bus stop now, I automatically reach for my phone, rather than stare into space; my fellow commuters (when I do raise my head) seem to be doing the same thing. Second, on top of this, an attention-economy narrative, for all its usefulness, reinforces a conception of attention-as-a-resource, rather than attention-as-experience.

那么,问题是双重的。首先,大量争相吸引我们注意力的刺激几乎可以使我们必然得倾向于即时满足。这就把探索性注意力挤出了原有的空间。当我现在到达公共汽车站时,我会自动地伸手去拿我的手机,而不是盯着别处看;当我抬起头的时候,我注意与我同行的人们似乎也在做同样的事情。其次,注意力经济的观点虽然有用,但它强化了“注意力即资源”的概念,而不是“注意力即体验”的概念。


At one extreme, we can imagine a scenario in which we gradually lose touch with attention-as-experience altogether. Attention becomes solely a thing to utilise, a means of getting things done, something from which value can be extracted. This scenario entails, perhaps, the sort of disembodied, inhuman dystopia that the American cultural critic Jonathan Beller talks about in his essay ‘Paying Attention’ (2006) when he describes a world in which ‘humanity has become its own ghost’.

在一个极端的情况下,我们可以想象这样一种情景:我们逐渐完全失去了与作为体验的注意力的联系。注意力成为了一种只可以用来利用的东西,一种完成任务的手段,一种可以从中提取价值的东西。这一情景或许会促成美国文化批评家乔纳森·贝勒(Jonathan Beller)在其2006年的论文《关注》(Paying Attention)中描述一个“人类已经变成了自己的幽灵”的世界时所谈论的那种无形的、非人道的反乌托邦。


While such an outcome is extreme, there are hints that modern psyches are moving in this direction. One study found, for instance, that most men chose to receive an electric shock rather than be left to their own devices: when, in other words, they had no entertainment on which to fix their attention. Or take the emergence of the ‘quantified self’ movement, in which ‘life loggers’ use smart devices to track thousands of daily movements and behaviours in order to (supposedly) amass self-knowledge. If one adopts such a mindset, data is the only valid input. One’s direct, felt experience of the world simply does not compute.

虽然这样的结果是极端的,但有迹象表明,现代人的心理正在朝这个方向发展。例如,一项研究发现,大多数人宁愿接受电击,也不愿一个人待着,因为一个人待着意味着没了能吸引他们注意力且给他们带来娱乐的东西。再比如,“量化自我”运动的出现,在这种运动中,“生活记录者”使用智能设备来跟踪成千上万的日常活动和行为,以便(在他们想象中)能积累自我知识。如果采用这种思维方式,数据是唯一有效的输入。一个人对世界的直接的、有感觉的体验根本不算数。

leave to (one's) own devices: 1. To allow (someone) to do as he or she pleases: left the child to her own devices for an hour. 2. To force (someone) to cope or manage without assistance: Most people would die in the desert if left to their own devices.


Thankfully, no society has reached this dystopia – yet. But faced with a stream of claims on our attention, and narratives that invite us to treat it as a resource to mine, we need to work to keep our instrumental and exploratory modes of attention in balance. How might we do this?

值得庆幸的是,还没有一个社会达到这种反乌托邦的地步。但是,面对针对我们注意力的一连串的索求,以及让我们将注意力视为可以开采的矿产的观点,我们需要努力保持我们的工具性和探索性注意力模式的平衡。我们该怎么做?


To begin with, when we talk about attention, we need to defend framing it as an experience, not a mere means or implement to some other end.

首先,当我们谈论注意力时,我们需要捍卫它作为一种体验,而不仅仅是达到另一个目的的手段或工具。


Next, we can reflect on how we spend our time. Besides expert advice on ‘digital hygiene’ (turning off notifications, keeping our phones out of the bedroom, and so on), we can be proactive in making a good amount of time each week for activities that nourish us in an open, receptive, undirected way: taking a stroll, visiting a gallery, listening to a record.

接下来,我们可以思考如何运用我们的时间。除了“数码卫生”的专家建议(关掉通知,把手机放在卧室外,等等),我们还可以积极主动地每周花大量时间进行一些活动,这些活动以开放、接受、无指导的方式为我们提供营养:散步、参观画廊、听唱片。


Perhaps most effective of all, though, is simply to return to an embodied, exploratory mode of attention, just for a moment or two, as often as we can throughout the day. Watching our breath, say, with no agenda. In an age of fast-paced technologies and instant hits, that might sound a little … underwhelming. But there can be beauty and wonder in the unadorned act of ‘experiencing’. This might be what Weil had in mind when she said that the correct application of attention can lead us to ‘the gateway to eternity … The infinite in an instant.’

然而,也许最有效的办法是,每天尽可能多地回到一种具体的、探索性的注意力模式,哪怕只是一两分钟。例如,不是按照计划的来注意我们的呼吸。在一个快节奏、高技术和即时热点的时代,这听起来可能有点…乏味。但是,在“体验“这一朴实的行为中,可能会有美和惊奇。当韦尔说正确地运用注意力可以引导我们"进入永恒之门...瞬间的无限"时,她可能就是这么想的。



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<原文链接:https://aeon.co/ideas/attention-is-not-a-resource-but-a-way-of-being-alive-to-the-world>

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