Sunday, February 07, 2016

"Attention must be paid"

Drama nerds know this as what Linda Loman says about Willy toward the end of "Death of a Salesman."

The relevant part of the quotation is:

"I don’t say he’s a great man. Willy Loman never made a lot of money. His name was never in the paper. He’s not the finest character that ever lived. But he’s a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid. He’s not to be allowed to fall into his grave like an old dog. Attention, attention must be finally paid to such a person."

This quote is a double-edged sword for me.  Minor Quibbles:  First of all, on some level I'd rather all but my very favorite people paid less attention to me than more.  Also, I've known some old dogs who have fallen into their graves after spending their lifetimes giving joy.

Major Quibble: I want to have lived a life of significance, but I find paying attention to all sorts of things very difficult.  I'm not sure if it's more work for me or if I'm just not very good at it, and those things are not mutually exclusive.  Could I be addicted to distraction?  I spend most of my quiet moments having conversations with myself in my head.  Some of them are replaying past conversations, sometimes I'm preparing for a conversation in the future.  But whatever I'm doing, I'm not listening to the world around me.

"Good conversations" and "driving" are when I do my best attention-paying.  And even with those my attention can be suboptimal.

What is my attention so afraid of?  And if I can figure out that thing, will it lead me to the significance I want.

I guess those are my questions for today.


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