The World Beyond Your Head: Part 3, The Attachment Point

In Hunting Magic Eels I connect attention to an outward-facing, eccentric posture toward the world. Attention draws us out of ourselves. 

In his book The World Beyond Your Head, Matthew Crawford helps make that same point by highlighting the etymology of the word "attention."

Specifically, the word "attention" comes from the Latin root tenere, which means "to stretch and make tense." The idea here is that the world becomes for our mind an external anchor point. When we attend we connect ourselves to that external anchor, and the tether of attention between the world and our mind creates tension, stretching us and pulling us out of ourselves. As Crawford summarizes, "External objects provide an attachment point for the mind; they can pull us out of ourselves."

This is how attention is a practice of, in the words of David Kelsey, an "eccentric" identity. Attention directed toward God creates an attachment point between the Real and our mind, an external anchor that pulls us out of ourselves. Prayer, in this view, is creating and cultivating this attachment point. 

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