Attention Under Siege: The Quest for Silence in Public Spaces

During an idle stroll through the city, a digital billboard seized my attention, its flickering presence a bold interruption to my otherwise tranquil urban walk.

This intrusion served as a stark reminder of the commodification of our attention, a resource as finite and valuable as a whispered secret.

Public parks, urban sanctuaries amidst the concrete maze have not been spared this tragedy of the commons.

Sponsored benches and engraved plaques subtly insinuate themselves into our peaceful sojourns, while the intrusive glow of smartphone notifications disrupts the natural symphony we seek refuge in.

As a result, we are gradually losing the cherished spontaneity of silently shared experiences, replaced by the tyranny of our constantly buzzing devices.

What if we viewed attention as we do the sanctity of our homes, as a shared treasure?

Like communities where civic pride is a forgotten virtue, we allow our attention to be exploited, converting our public spaces into battlegrounds of relentless solicitation.

Quiet contemplation, once a right, is now a privilege, confined to the silence of private libraries or other muted spaces requiring money.

It’s high time we acknowledged our attention as a communal asset, a common good, and embarked on the urgent task of protecting it.