Director's Class: How To Pay Attention
Attending to the World in an Age of Distraction
Each semester we offer a Director's Class for undergraduate and graduate students. This semester, executive director Mike Sacasas will be teaching a class on a topic that has been widely discussed in recent years: attention.
It's taken for granted that we live in an age of distraction and that our capacity for attention has suffered as a result. Digital media and digital devices usually get the blame for this state of affairs. But is this the whole story? If so, why do worries about attention date back to at least the 19th century? Why do we feel ourselves to be uniquely distracted? And, more importantly, why does it matter? Is attention merely an intellectual problem, or does it have moral and spiritual dimensions as well? To what ought we be paying attention, and how? How can we properly attend to the world in a way that cultivates care and empowers action?
With the help of Hannah Arendt, Simone Weil, Iris Murdoch, Josef Pieper, and Blaise Pascal among others, we will consider these questions and more, as we think about one of the most vital issues confronting those who seek to live well in the present age.
The class will meet from 11:45 to 12:35 every Wednesday for eight weeks beginning September 14th.
Lunch will be provided to all who attend.