Deflection Vs. Diffusion

Here’s an idea. The human awareness can be imagined as a directional flow of intent or interest. When I am reading a book, my awareness is—if I am able to concentrate—located somewhere within the content of the book. If I am taking a walk and observing my surroundings with interest, my attention will be focused on whatever comes into the field of my senses. I think, however, that there is an important distinction to be made between environments (and individual objects within them) that deflect the attention and those that absorb or diffuse it. In a city with advertisements on every wall and a million things trying to snag your focus, it is not abnormal to feel like your attention is caught in a pinball machine. Advertisements, snazzy dressers, fancy sports cars, are all calling out for your attention and are shrewdly designed to deflect it towards a specific target. In a natural environment, however, we are presented with a totally different kind of phenomenon. In nature our attention is gently absorbed, and diffused along the multiple lines of a beauty that cannot be measured or quantified. IN nature the observed presents us with no ulterior motive. There is nothing for the mind to do. In this sense, nature functions as a kind of ground zero for the mind, a beautiful black hole for its ambitions and motives.

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