How to Do Nothing

If we think about what it means to “concentrate” or “pay attention” at an individual level, it implies alignment: different parts of the mind and even the body acting in concert and oriented toward the same thing. To pay attention to one thing is to resist paying attention to other things; it means constantly denying and thwarting provocations outside the sphere of one’s attention. We contrast this with distraction, in which the mind is disassembled, pointing in many different directions at once and preventing meaningful action. It seems the same is true on a collective level. Just as it takes alignment for someone to concentrate and act with intention, it requires alignment for a “movement” to move. Importantly, this is not a top-down formation, but rather a mutual agreement among individuals who pay intense attention to the same things and to each other.

I’m thinking about: how being individually distracted prevents feeling pain; how being collectively distracted prevents solidarity. There’s a lot here dancing between the micro and the macro.