In the context of attention, I will say it's always nice to read your articles on my ReMarkable. Even with my kids playing on the bed next to me, I can read it, fairly distraction free, but still be present with the people that matter most.

That said, I appreciate you not writing off every single ADHD diagnosis. I don't have it myself, but I suspect some people assume my son does. However, he's seven, as of today. He's a kid. It's normal for him to be all over the place. But it's also why we took the steps to do a substantial screen detox, and while there hasn't been a "miraculous" change (we weren't expecting this), his creativity has shot through the roof now that his screen time is very limited. Which I think leads into your point, that it's less about "what's wrong with my particular child" and more, "What's wrong with the air we're breathing?"

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It strikes me (reading the piece from Fahrenheit 451, in particular) that attention is the process by which information can become wisdom. Our techno-social milieu is necessary hostile to wisdom because no wise person would ever freely choose to orient so much of their attention towards the means of estranged economic agents.

Indeed, one of the first gifts of even a modest therapy of attention is the wisdom of disillusionment -- a recognition of just how unhappy we are.

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Interesting installment. There is a lot to think about here. Thank you for opening up the opportunity for that.

A lot of things came to mind as I was reading this. In the part where you talk about the social and technological world in relation to attention - especially in relation to things like ADD and ADHD - it brought to mind some things often discussed within the disability community.

Whether one believes that a person's attention type is innate or largely influenced by the world around us, there is still a distinction between the concept of *disability* and that of *disorder*. The term "disability" indicates a *disabling* of the person caused by influences outside the person. (The issue is not a problem with the person, but rather that the world is not designed with them in mind.) The term "disorder," however, indicates that the problem is with the person. As a society, we tend to focus an awful lot on individual people when we are trying to talk about what is "wrong." We tend to put the onus on a person when there is trouble, and to not recognize the systemic issues which lead to that person's struggles.

I bring this up because it seems to similar to your discussion of attention-based diagnoses (such as ADD or ADHD) in relation to social and technological elements of one's surroundings. Is this an issue within the individual, or is this an issue with the surroundings and how that affects the individual? Even if we weren't talking about technology of today, this question is always present. How much can we really separate the two? And even if a difference is something innate, why is that so quickly determined as "disordered"? There are many naturally occurring neurotypes in the world, so who gets to decide which ones are "normal" and which ones are "disordered"?

One of the reasons this comes up so much in the disability community has to do with concepts of inclusion, access, and Universal Design. Just as the natural world is not equally accessible to or navigable by all people, neither is society. We tend to design our systems and surroundings based on the needs and wants of the majority, rather than considering the needs and wants of all people who live in the world. This is probably done for reasons of efficiency and is probably pretty subconscious. It may not be that people intend to leave out other people who do not represent the majority, but that does not change the fact that people do get left out of those conversations.

Once it is realized that a system does not work well for some people, then accommodations are often made to help those people access what they need. This is necessary, but still an indication of inadequate planning and consideration. Universal Design is the concept of considering all people and circumstances starting in the earliest stages of planning and design so that places and systems can work for everyone. If our world were more universally designed, then our need for accommodations would be much lower - because if things worked well for more people, there would be less need for troubleshooting.

This kept coming to my mind as I listened to this installment. I can't help but think about these concepts in terms of the ways in which our social and technological realities are changing.

In regard to modern society and technology, decisions are made based on what will "benefit" society. We are not really designing our world in a way that will benefit the majority of people within that society. Rather, we are designing our world for a certain trajectory of what we call "progress." How do we measure progress? Societal success is often measured by power or money. It is not measured in terms of the well-being of the people within the society. So the more we move toward "success" in the capitalist system, the more we move away from the thriving of all individuals in society.

So back to the idea of ADD and ADHD, are these traits innate or are they largely caused by the social and technological dynamics of modern society? Either way, they are very real. Either way, the person experiencing them is experiencing a *disabling* because of the dynamics and priorities of society around them. Some might say this means that those dynamics cause the difference in processing or neurotype, while others claim that that difference in processing or neurotype already existed within the person. Regardless, the *disabling* part of the conversation is still a problem of society and not a problem of the person. So if we are going to think about cause and effect, it is difficult to disentangle that from distinctions between disorder and disability.

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Like David I have an ADHD story although it started 40 years ago. We are in the UK. Our son has lately had a diagnosis of ADHD which has helped explain some of the things he has struggled with. We needed to fill in a questionnaire and realised we had not recognised he had a problem as a child. Looking back he says that he did have the classic problems with sitting in class - he managed it and was not obstructive, but it was a struggle, especially finishing work. I am pretty sure that the lengthy 'training' in sitting and doing set tasks inever was good for children generally, let alone ADHD. 'Education' has a lot to answer for - witness its deployment in 19thC competitive nationalism and colonial history, let alone Class stratification of the workforce. Nowadays 'we' have become necessary consumers as much as 'we' are a workforce.

Incidentally our family did not have TV until later for soccer and some comedy and the children read favourite books or were read to or created hobbies. The other stuff was not around yet. He learned and did some great artwork out of school and wrote an excellent story or two as he got older. His successive obsessions with learning practical skill sets have served him well into adult life. His intelligence coped with the academic demands though sometimes with luck and a good teacher. Interesting that he thinks now his expert fly-fishing and rock-climbing provided the focus necessary to allow an undistracted mind - an antidote to restlessnes. His little family these days use the modern screens a lot, but his own youngster is mostly racketing around outside on his own or with friends like his father did, and picking up expertise. Barefoot in the summer and never stops. Illich spotted the modern disfunctionality, but antidote is still around. Wishing David and family continued success.

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I’m going to think about this for a while! Your newsletter give me lots to chew on. I kinda have no idea what you’re talking about sometimes 😂 but the parts I do understand are a good brain scratch!

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