One of our elementary functions of behaviors is to gain attention. It is at the base of connecting and belonging to a group. Without the ability to create attention for themselves or situations, humans cannot build relationships or receive what they need to perform.
Creating attention serves to make aware of a need as well as of a proposal.
The simplest way is to ask for attention as needed.
Choosing this approach is based on trust in the relationship as well as the request. It comes with the acceptance that the result will be what is possible as well as the promise that granting attention will serve a common purpose. The need as well as the proposal being an option within the relationship.
The desire to get what one wants, another elementary function of behavior, comes along with the desire to change what is possible. It is the effort to influence and the assumption that acceptance is reducing one’s chances.
It leads to searching for ways to achieve the desired result using attention. It may happen by changing the way one prepares oneself. Or it may happen by transforming the way one gains attention.
We’ve received many of the wonders of this world in this way. Temples, pyramids, castles, they all serve to attract attention.
But the more there is, the more difficult it becomes. Even more so, when there is little visibility and time.
It was difficult in the past to miss a cathedral. It was visible from far away and used its space to remain in everyone’s mind living close by. Its beauty and size served its reputation. It’s also how it created enough tension to have people share stories with strangers inviting them to come and see.
In the mass of information and options available, people have developed new means to create attention.
It needed to be more and more impressive to gain and keep people’s attention.
When it sufficed to post a picture of a cat in the past to get people’s attention on Facebook, it now has to be an exceptional cat, that performs come magic, speaks, or has some other remarkable features.
Where talking about a sports event was there to find oneself impressed by the athlete’s performance. It now has become a field of dramatic events, where the focus is on winning. Drama comes in using patriotic feelings, the emotional rise, and fall of near successes or failures, the story that can be uncovered.
It slowly transforms people’s desires and wants. Moving it away from the purpose that generated the desire.
It focuses on the attention that one can get. Until the dynamic transforms the desire originally sought to receiving attention.
Without any purpose left, it becomes a race for attention. One that doesn’t leave enough space to create meaning.
It’s forgetting that within a relationship attention and wants have to be compatible with the relationship not only with one another.