The Importance of Attention II: The Car Buyer

Consider a driving enthusiast who ploughs all his savings into the shiny new sports car of his dreams. Walking towards the vehicle in the car park, he admires the elegance of its flowing lines, the boldness of its meaty grill and flared wheel arches, and the promise of speed in its oversized alloy wheels and low-sitting chassis. His pulse starts to pick up and his throat dries. He opens the broad door and swings into the leather sports seats. The precision instruments on the dashboard light up and the engine bursts into life at the touch of a button. He teases the accelerator with the toe of his shoe; the vibration charges through his frame and a powerful roar seems to come from three directions simultaneously. “Yes,” he gushes, “worth every penny.” Continue reading


The Importance of Attention I: Public Policy

Oscar Wilde defined a cynic as someone who knows the price of everything but the value of nothing. The author also pondered on the nature of happiness[1], but he never made this observation on the importance of attention: it knows the value of everything but the price of nothing. If there is a single lesson happiness seekers must retain from all of the research on well-being is that nothing can bring joy or sadness, pleasure or pain, unless it first has our attention. Continue reading