A brood comb

….philosophical and other notes….

How things keep your attention

Posted by Tanas Gjorgoski on May 25, 2006

We notice things… They either attract our attention, or we can find them when “looking for them”. But usually there is no simple intentional state which don’t have in itself the seed of its change. It can’t be even said that way (as in my last sentence), as what is primary is the change, and some kind of “momentary state” can be nowhere found (other post on this).
Probably the most content-less case of intentional state is bedazzlement, when a thing can keep our attention as if we are enchanted with it. Though even in this case one can’t talk about momentary state, as it is really a state which requires time, still it seems to me it gets as close as possible to some kind of intentional momentary state, as in ideal conditions I can imagine there not being change in the intentional state – no thoughts, no plans.. pure bedazzlement.

Other simple intentional states, that I can think of in my opinion are more complex. In the case of hating, you can look at something with hate for example, and the state can last longer, but this state is richer, as it includes also a wish to do something, however unplanned and impulsive it might be. And in the case of being interested, as for example child being interested in a toy, it is hardly something that don’t change in time, the state of being interested includes the wish to get that thing, to hold it, analyze it, and so on…

I think analysis of those intentional state is helpful in tracking the possible relations that we can have with the world. As one, it shows that probably one can’t reduce the analysis to some simple noticing of things, but we need to always consider the wider gestalt, where the intentional state is seen not as momentary state, but as some kind of abstraction of our being in-the-world, in which gestalt probably emotions will have to play some role which can’t be just pushed away… If there is no state which is simple noticing of the thing, if even when things attract our attention, that attracting our attention is “wedded” with some kind of interest on our part, and when in simplest case of bedazzlement is hard to talk about emotionless state of pure intentionality; giving any account which doesn’t give a central place to those emotions would be lacking.

The other important thing is how and when our attention on a thing is lost (question which is mentioned at the end of this post). So to say, when does the given as result of abstraction stop being the lively given, and becomes something which is abstracted itself. In my opinion this also relates to the question of relation between consciousness and Unconscious. The abstraction as explicit removing of the things away from the attention seems to give lot of possibility to give account where the relation can be comprehended.

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