Navigating Learning in an Attention-Deficit Economy
The attention economy has taken over our lives completely. Unless one is enrolled in university or finds exceptional focus it is hard to get out of the content consumtpion loop and shift to the content creation side. After a day's work, doing the chores of adulthood and sleep there's little time to be spent learning new skills and finding the interest to develop them, while doom-scrolling bypasses this lack
The ubiquity of the attention economy makes sure that there's no premium on encouraging people to learn and the onus is put on the individuals to fight their battles with digital addiction as the corporations behind them make bank. Where does one even begin in a sea of distractions where having no phone or internet is equivalent to losing half of one's soul? Modern workplaces, relationships and bureacracy require one to be perpetually online to be on top of things, so being a Luddite and disconnecting from the world is not the solution, nor is the self-discipline, which is the equivalent of telling a coke addict to detox through song and prayer.
Unfortunately, this prevailing trend could have detrimental consequences for humanity in the long run. As more people are encouraged to consume content rather than contribute to it, and to adopt prevailing opinions rather than nurturing independent thought, society risks becoming insulated in a cocoon of global perspectives devoid of critical filtration. A populace accustomed to passive consumption might struggle to confront the unfiltered challenges of reality, impeding the cultivation of proactive and creative thinking.
How does one learn in such an environment? And to what purpose does this learning serve? One of the ways that seem promising is to use the internet as a tool to teach others, shares one's experiences and serve as a notebook of progress, refining one's own learning process while also inspiring others. Another would be to do a hard social media reset and a blanket wipe of distracting apps from every computing device and set-up a daily routine of distraction-free learning, though this method requires immense willpower and one also needs to find a greater purpose towards the goal they're learning for. Either way, the battle to regain our attention from digital corporations to individual selves requires an almost spiritual levels of patience and understanding of our thought processes, environments and the human weakness to procrastinate.