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The attention game

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posted on Feb, 2 2009 @ 11:11 PM
This is a very interesting topic, and reading everyone's responses has been great.

I find myself feeling that while you've definitely put your finger on a crucial issue, I can't quite agree with your take on it. But I'm having a hard time identifying what it is that's really bothering me, so bear with me if I don't make much sense sometimes.

Originally posted by Skyfloating
It is my view that we, as a society, are undereducated on a subject that steers our entire lives. That subject would be...


Perhaps undereducated, perhaps miseducated, but I'm definitely in agreement here. We are willfully oblivious to the significance of social attention to ourselves and each other, and to the way that both our own attention and our need for the attention of others is used to manipulate us.

It is my view that it is easy to control people who are unaware of how our need for approval and attention steers much of our behavior.

I would say that it is generally easier to control people who are unaware, period. And perhaps part of my uneasiness with the OP lies in the distinction between approval and attention.

Look Ma! No Hands!

As children we crave our parents attention and are hurt when they withdraw their attention. In this way they can play us by rewarding us with different types of attention (hugs, gifts, spending-time, love) when we do what they want us to do and punish us by withdrawing different types of attention when we dont do as they say. Early on getting approval and attention and avoiding disapproval or attention-withdrawal becomes a matter of survival. We need our parents food and shelter afterall.

I agree with almost all of this, although I think most parents do not consciously "play" their children.

Certainly I think our earliest experiences with our parents (or other caregivers) set the stage for our later attention-seeking or attention-craving behaviors. This is also an important part of socialization – this is where and how we begin to learn to interact with other people. How we begin to identify behaviors and attitudes that are attractive to others – that please them.

That's not all bad. We are a social species, and I think that in modern Western life we are too fond of the rugged individualist, the person who is fully self-sufficient and autonomous, making decisions and taking actions without regard to what others will think – or only insofar as those thoughts might impact us later.

Later in life we seek the attention and approval of our spouses, our bosses, our employees, our colleagues. Thus needy, we can be played accordingly and become pawns in other peoples games.

Yes, but do you really think that most people are running around "playing" each other? I will grant that most people see life as a story in which they star, and others as bit characters in that story, whose role is primarily as a foil for the main character. But my experience has not led me to believe that most people deliberately manipulate their loved ones.

This does not only happen on an individual scale but in all and every aspects of the world we live in. Corporations seek attention. Marketing is nothing other than seeking attention. Politicians seek attention. Becoming a superstar is all about getting attention. Countries seek attention. Members of this website seek attention. Attention here is counted in number of thread replies and stars.

Shouldn't this mean that corporations, and the powerful, can be easily manipulated?

Nevermind, I guess that's what you get to later, in a way.

I think I agree here, but I'm unclear on how a corporation can crave or seek anything. Is it the individual leaders' cravings expressed through the institution? Somehow that doesn't seem quite right to me.

In this sense attention is the No.1 commodity, more valuable than money, energy, resources...because those things naturally accompany gaining attention.

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.

From a certain perspective, all of life can be seen as many, many different methods to get attention. The assertive and agressive force gets attention by standing out. But its victim gets at least just as much attention in its calls for pity.

Is there a "quality of attention" issue at stake here? Is that part of why both those who get attention through aggression and those who get attention through conspicuous suffering seem to become addicted to that pattern?

An Experiment

Stop on a busy street and look upwards...

notice how other heads start looking upwards too.

Thats how easy it is to steer other peoples attention. Most people not being self-determined but "on automatic", this is easy to do.

I think this is where I start running into trouble, with the dichotomization of self-determination vs. sociality. Not only is the instinct for others to follow your gaze an adaptation from our days as primates as someone else suggested; it is a fundamental part of our existence as social entities.

When we look up to follow another's gaze, we are also confirming to that person that they exist for us, that we have seen them and are sharing an experience.

I'm not sure how this will fit in, but because I love this little piece of performance/street theater I'm going to include it:

posted on Feb, 2 2009 @ 11:50 PM
Needing Attention?

While the point you bring up is quite valid and interesting Sky, I personally often try my best to avoid any attention. I love and cherish my solitude, one of the few things in life I actually get to enjoy.

Although on ATS, I like my views to get noticed.

You're right, we all seek attention in one form or the other. You just can't hide from this reality. I wonder why.

Nice thread S&F


posted on Feb, 3 2009 @ 02:27 AM

Originally posted by Skyfloating

Ive trained myself - in all earnesty - not to react too quickly to other peoples motions and demands. I have found it to be a useful tool in not getting swept away by the constant stimuli from outside, but remain centered and prioritized.

[edit on 2-2-2009 by Skyfloating]

Let you be remembered as "Man who got hit by falling piano" hahaha, sorry, had to do it.

Good topic, and for the most part, true. Attention seeking is a result of childhood and being raised though. A problem in raising/childhood is usually the cause for problems with attention seeking.

posted on Feb, 3 2009 @ 02:44 AM

Originally posted by Skyfloating

I come online here and see all these threads demanding immediate attention. When I see a thread in ALL-CAPS and EXCLAMATION MARKS!!!!!!! I make a deliberate point in not clicking on it first (if ever) and instead seeking out something that interests me.

Except... as a moderator... that might indicate a thread that has a potential for turning into a flamefest -- either on the original poster or because the topic is controversial. I click those first to find out what direction the thing's going and whether it's just someone with technical difficulties or someone with a rather rabid agenda.

The Watchmen can't afford to NOT look at what the crowd is focusing on.

posted on Feb, 3 2009 @ 02:55 AM

Originally posted by fooffstarr
She did it because she craved attention and wanted people to worry about her and make a fuss etc etc.

Of course, with a lie so big, it came unglued after a short period of time. And now, thanks to her idiocy and the wonderful acts of karma, she has no friends and a family who has disowned her.

That's a psychiatric disorder called "Munchausen's Syndrome." It's not a normal behavior and is a type of psychosis:

A related one is "Munchausen's by proxy" where people will poison or harm others ALMOST to the point of death so they can be the hero and rescue them:

...and this is a distinction that's not being made here. Not all behavior that seems to be attention seeking is attention seeking. Examples would be behaviors of ADHD individuals and autistic individuals. In some of them, they don't recognize when you are giving attention.

posted on Feb, 3 2009 @ 03:06 AM
You can indeed manipulate people if you know when they seek attention, but just the same, you can manipulate people if you know what will cause them to deprive you of attention.

Suspicion is a huge part of attention. If you act suspicious, out of the ordinary, you get attention. Negative attention is drawn to you when your actions, often as a result of trying not to gain attention, are noticed. Somebody may think you are trying to steal something, or merely plotting something malevolent.

By trying to be low key, you actually draw attention. By drawing a certain kind of positive attention you actually deflect attention from yourself. The way you greet the people around you, the way you dress, your mannerisms, its all things people take into account when they look at you subconsciously.

If you wear the right clothing, have the right personality, and use the right mannerisms, people won't pay any attention to you at all.

The art of blending in is knowing what catches people attention, and what deflects it. Clothing is a big grab/deflector of attention. So is mannerisms. Knowing what mannerisms and clothing will disarm a person or group of people in a certain environment will determine whether they give you attention negatively, positively, or not at all.

Wear construction boots, be a bit dirty, blue jeans, talk on your phone, stand up straight and look forward, never down, few people will pay you any attention. The reason is 1. they assume you are an average class worker=uninteresting. 2. you are talking on a cellphone=you are preoccupied and when somebody is preoccupied, we tend to pay less attention to them. I think the reason for that is we know we will not be interacting with this person. 3. When you are looking forward, and upright, you seem rather focused. You come off as a person who has something to do, and is not interested with what is going on around you.

I know this because I knew a thief who did just this. He would snatch things right out in the open, because he knew nobody was watching him. He would be pretending to be talking on his cellphone and just pocket something, not even looking around or anything. I asked how he could just pocket something like that with such confidence. His response was "Nobody was watching me".

He knew with almost an arrogant quality that his act had garnered so little attention that he could openly steal an item and nobody would notice.

My point is that he manipulated other peoples attention grabbers and deflectors as well, to manipulate those around him. The average person gave him no attention because of his actions, mannerisms, etc. and as a result, he manipulated them that way.

So in short, by knowing what drove people to ignore somebody (not give them attention), he manipulated them the same way somebody else might manipulate them to get their attention.

posted on Feb, 3 2009 @ 03:37 AM

Originally posted by Skyfloating
I´d take this even a step further in saying that those who crave it too much are less likely to get it and those who do care about it but dont crave it, become that center.

I'm not so sure this applies to attention-seeker types, if that's what you meant. This type of person who likes to put themselves front row and center, often gets just that - even if you think they're an arrogant, obnoxious fool, you still give them attention by their actions, irregardless if what they're trying to have noticed about themselves or if you agree/like it or them. Some can tune them out, but most wouldn't, so they win in that respect.

Then there are those who shy away from attention, the wall-flower silent types, and they tend to go un-noticed. No-one hardly pays attention, and they'll usually never be the center of attention.

What you might have meant, may have been those who are demanding of it are less deserving? And a person who's alot less obvious or shows more class by not acting this way is more deserving? With that I would agree.

Also some people like myself, have a limited attention span. I could never sit through a school assembly, long speeches, someone who talks non-stop. I start tuning them out. They very quickly lose my attention, unless they're beng interesting
Sometimes if I don't feel like talking on the phone, because I'm focusing my attention on something else, even if that's complete nothingness (could be sleeping) I won't even hear the phone ring, it's a conscious decision I will make.
EDIT to add: If the phone rings and it's an important call, it will get my attention, in this case it will ring seemingly louder than usual.

So in some ways we can give attention involuntarily, like your example of looking up at the sky to copy others (monkey see, monkey do) and we can also have full control of it. Another example I will use: My husband would complain the xmas tree lights are reflecting on the TV and he wants it unplugged. But for me, I can't see the lights (I do after he points it out) I tune them out, and can quite happily watch the TV and never see the lights or all the other bulbs reflecting he complains about.

[edit on 3-2-2009 by violet]

posted on Feb, 3 2009 @ 03:51 AM

Originally posted by Skyfloating
Lets put it this way: You say it cant be taught, I say it can. I guess we're both right. It cant be taught the way math is taught. But it can be taught the way social skills are "taught".

Ok readng along now .... I agree it can be self taught. For me I think it's just my nature. In some ways it's a hazard, I don't pay attention when I should.

I also avoid most of the all caps exclamation point overload threads. It just immediately sends a clue this person is overly excited, didn't think before posting, and it will end up being nothing. BUT if the thread keeps showing up on the top of the page, it will eventually get my attention. Then I'm curious, what's all the fuss and maybe I could be missing something worthwhile afterall.

posted on Feb, 3 2009 @ 04:02 AM
reply to post by Byrd

Thanks for that info mate.

Yeah, I've heard of another case now that you mention the 'poisoning' thing about a nurse who used to administer stolen drugs of some sort to patients to force them into cardiac arrest so she could just so happen to be there and save them.

She got caught out too, and I'm pretty sure she is sitting in a cell somewhere with half-man Olga right about now, but it's not my problem.

As you said though, and I touched on it in my first post, I wonder if these people who's attention seeking does verge into mental disorder actually realize what they are doing is wrong?

Does their brain not relay the risks, or are the risks worth taking in their minds for the outcome?

[edit on 3-2-2009 by fooffstarr]

posted on Feb, 3 2009 @ 06:38 AM

Originally posted by Byrd

Except... as a moderator... that might indicate a thread that has a potential for turning into a flamefest -- either on the original poster or because the topic is controversial. I click those first to find out what direction the thing's going and whether it's just someone with technical difficulties or someone with a rather rabid agenda.

The Watchmen can't afford to NOT look at what the crowd is focusing on.

yes... a Moderator its an entirely different story.



I left a question for you here btw.

posted on Feb, 3 2009 @ 06:45 AM
reply to post by americandingbat

I think I should have stated in my OP that I dont see this is a negative-thing only, and that "playing each other" is more or less natural (vs. "bad") and that it only becomes a problem when puppeteers exploit various natural leanings to their secret benefit.

So you're correct in offering more discernment than the - generalized - OP.

posted on Feb, 3 2009 @ 06:50 AM
reply to post by grimreaper797

Succesful pickpockets that have mastered the Art....that was an extremely interesting post to read. Starred.

posted on Feb, 3 2009 @ 07:00 AM

Originally posted by violet
What you might have meant, may have been those who are demanding of it are less deserving? And a person who's alot less obvious or shows more class by not acting this way is more deserving? With that I would agree.

uh..yes...sort of
Its a linguistic issue too. I forgot that socieities definition of "attention-seeker" is different than mine. The obnoxious type you described would be more of an "attention-getter" to me.

Also some people like myself, have a limited attention span. I could never sit through a school assembly, long speeches, someone who talks non-stop. I start tuning them out.

I actually think its unnatural to have a "high attention span" in the face of boring things.

My husband would complain the xmas tree lights are reflecting on the TV and he wants it unplugged. But for me, I can't see the lights (I do after he points it out) I tune them out, and can quite happily watch the TV and never see the lights or all the other bulbs reflecting he complains about.

I think its easier for us to do that when we are not stressed out.
If I worked all day I can see how those lights would really bother me. I´d turn them off. If Im fairly relaxed though, I would not even notice them.

posted on Feb, 3 2009 @ 07:26 AM
Great thread! and nicely explained.

For me its how I hold my attention though my time of being in respect to my immdiate environment. My attention sets my mood/attitude which lays the parameters of what i choose to bring into physical manifestation.

I feel that my understanding of urgency just help me prioritze the way i place importance and attention is built around that.

I fight in Mixed martial arts. The very nature of a punch draws attention.

Peoples attention are on the punch but see how we stop when its time to. They get to see and feel (if watching live) how we blend our attitudes back to calm suddenly when we stop

just a few thoughts of mine,
Class ideas and thoughts by everyone that contributed!
have a kindly day

posted on Feb, 3 2009 @ 08:17 AM
reply to post by Skyfloating

Great post there Skyfloating! You know this is how cults recruit.. Groups like CoS understand this issue deeply and use it fully to their advantage.

ITs called love bombing. And can seriously mess with peoples minds unless they are well taught! Thanks for teaching those who might not understand the dangers of attention, and the seeking of it.

posted on Feb, 3 2009 @ 09:10 AM
Excellent post Skyfloating.

Why do we crave attention? What is the reward? For most their answer would be fairly mundane or psychologically based. But, behind the seeking of attention is one thing we cannot deny even if it goes against the grain of our Indoctrinations.

When we give attention to another human being, or animal for that matter, we are directing energy to them. I know this for fact, and use simple divining rods to prove to my clients the old saying, "Where your attention goes, your energy flows" And they are suitably shocked to see it for themselves.

So we can extrapolate on that premise now by saying that all arguments, all the little control dramas people use, the manipulations, are all done to get energy from others in order to feel better.

You will see it for yourself if you take this simple knowing and observe people around you. You will see how one drains another. You will start to realise why it is that being with some people you know makes you tired and start to yawn, because they are draining you. Just observe and you will see it is true.

So one means to deal with this is to name the mechanism they are using, they are either being a Victim (poor me), a Controller, an Inquisitor (why did you do that, why this way,etc) or an Aloof (Oh look, why are they on their own over there?).

Once named you can then choose to give them energy freely, and then describe the means they can use to energise themselves in order to feel better about themselves.

Many will ignore your assistance and continue to vampire anyway instead of taking repsonsibility for themselves, At this time you can choose to leave them, or stay and be drained.

Yes, as crazy as it may sound, all attention seeking is about gaining energy from others to feel better about themsleves.

And yet it is simple to empower ourselves. Look at anything in nature's beauty for a few minutes and you will feel lighter, more energised. Use visualisation to bring white light into you through the top of your head and you will actually feel the energy as it comes in. These are ways that really do work.

Many people are not aware that their thoughts create their feelings. And so many people are unable to stop thinking about the what if's in their life, are unable to stop worrying about things, because they are energising their thoughts by focusing their attention on them.

I call these things "Stories", when the instigating thought raises a negative emotional feeling and together they just run on auto pilot so that it becomes hard to sleep, hard to concentrate on other things and in so doing it drains you.

The more effective approach to this problem is to force yourself to focus only on what you are doing in that moment, no matter how mundane it is. In this way you will retrain yourself over a pereiod of about 30 days to become master of your thoughts, and therefore master of yourself, your energy and focus.

Attention. It is about having power, taking energy from others. If you know this about yourself, then you can change it for the better.

posted on Feb, 3 2009 @ 11:57 AM
reply to post by Tayesin

Good post, i was going to post a similar piece today, so -

Think how much the media generates peoples attention, and what it consists of. If we create our own reality........

Just one aspect of attention, but an important one i feel.

posted on Feb, 3 2009 @ 01:21 PM
reply to post by waterboatman

Since your in martial arts I suspect you know a great deal more about the subject. Would you say that martial arts has just as much to do with deflecting attention?

In other words, pretending to be just about to use my left arm while using my right? (Hope this is understandable)

posted on Feb, 3 2009 @ 01:26 PM
reply to post by zysin5

Sure do.

Some cults are expert at "love-bombing" and the only reason it works is because people have no idea that its being applied.

Knowing a trick immediately neutralizes its effect on us.

posted on Feb, 3 2009 @ 01:35 PM
reply to post by Tayesin

Im actually aware of that and was counting on a post like yours. Before I started the thread I asked myself "Should I do a Paranormal-Forum version of this or a Psychology-Forum version of this?" and decided for the latter, thereby ommitting all the deeper energy aspects...and it does get much deeper than this.

Much deeper.

Much much deeper.

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