Please Pay Attention Please

Please Pay Attention Please by Bruce Nauman

I named my blog Sensitive New World not because I wanted to start a sensitive revolution where everyone is kinder, shares their feelings, speaks softly and with enough pauses to allow everyone to contemplate.  (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)  When I think of a “sensitive, new world”, I don’t imagine the world moving slower, being quieter or a gentler place to live.  (It won’t happen.)

I do want the world to be more sensitive as I think of sensitivity — paying attention to that which our human consciousness is designed to be aware of:  information gleaned from our senses, processed with our minds and felt with our bodies.

Note that I wrote “pay attention to” not “talk incessantly about”.

Ane Axford wrote beautifully in an email this week that sensitivity is “the act of feeling, the mechanism of communication at its most essential. It is what provides the ability to respond. It is the conduit of all information…Consciousness sensing itself.”  

Sensitivity is paying attention without an agenda.  It is noticing what is happening.  

High sensitivity is simply noticing more things and more deeply.  It’s like “wearing an extra pair of glasses” as Elaine Aron put it.

Paying attention is the opposite of mindless consumption, distractedness, numbness, and pointless ambition.  “It pulls us out of our own heads and joins us to the world…It is the antidote to narcissism”, according to writer Matthew Crawford.

The world needs more whistleblowers, observers, and witnesses — otherwise known as “People Who Notice Stuff”, stuff that’s corrupt, meaningless, and wrong.

At the very least we need people to just look up.  You know, when you’re walking down the street or driving a car, just look up and pay attention to where you’re going.  If you’re at a concert or some other live performance, try to just watch it with your eyes and listen with your ears.  I use my brain to record what’s happening so I’ll remember it later.

Author John Green in The Fault in Our Stars:

The real heroes aren’t the people doing things… The real heroes are the people NOTICING things, paying attention.

OK, the word “hero” is a little much, but I agree with the sentiment.


By Andrew Harlow




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s