The Art of Looking: What 11 Experts Teach Us about Seeing Our Familiar City Block with New Eyes
by Maria Popova “Attention is an intentional, unapologetic discriminator. It asks what is relevant right now, and gears us up to notice only that.” “How we spend our days,” Annie Dillard wrote in her timelessly beautiful meditation on presence over productivity, “is, of course, how we spend our lives.” And nowhere do we fail at the art of presence most miserably and most tragically than in urban life — in the city, high on the cult of productivity, where we float past each other, past the buildings and trees and the little boy in the purple pants, past life itself, cut off from the breathing of the world by iPhone earbuds and solipsism. Horowitz begins by pointing our attention to the incompleteness of our experience of what we conveniently call “reality”: Right now, you are missing the vast majority of what is happening around you. The book was her answer to the disconnect, an effort to “attend to that inattention.” The perceptions of infants are remarkable.
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