The theme of my 2009 is paying attention to what I’m paying attention to.
It turns out David Brooks predicted my year back in December:
Control of attention is the ultimate individual power. People who can do that are not prisoners of the stimuli around them. They can choose from the patterns in the world and lengthen their time horizons. This individual power leads to others. It leads to self-control, the ability to formulate strategies in order to resist impulses. If forced to choose, we would all rather our children be poor with self-control than rich without it.
See also the excellent New York magazine article, “In Defense of Distraction.”
David Foster Wallace was concerned about how we construct meaning in real time. Driving home his point for me was the Kid Rock video, “Warrior,” which I watched a couple times in the theatre waiting for a movie to start.
Jonah Lehrer’s been sniffing around this subject, too. I’ll have to read his New Yorker piece on self-control.