The merging of action and awareness is made possible by centering attention on a limited stimulus field. To insure that people will concentrate on their actions, potentially intruding stimuli must be kept out of attention. Some writers [such as Abraham Maslow] have called this process a "narrowing of consciousness" or "a giving up of the past and the future."
Every industrious man, in every lawful calling, is a useful man. And one principle reason why men are so often useless is, that they neglect their own profession or calling, and divide and shift their attention among a multiplicity of objects and pursuits.
To one who pays attention to God’s immensity, it is clear that nothing at all can exist which does not depend on Him. This is true not only of everything that subsists, but of all order, of every law, and of every reason of truth and goodness... Hence, neither should we think that eternal truths depend upon the human understanding or on other existing things; they must depend on God alone, who as the supreme legislator, ordained them from all eternity.
Intimacy - the willing revelation of self and absorption in another is a rare thing... those who do tend to view it as a fait accompli rather than as a communal being in need of constant renewal... True intimacy is a human constant... Intimacy is to love what concentration is to work: a simultaneous drawing together of attention and release of energy.
Our minds are so constructed that we can keep the attention fixed on a particular object until we have, as it were, looked all around it; and the mind that possesses this faculty in the highest degree of perfection will take cognizance of relations of which another mind has no perception. It is this, much more than any difference in the abstract power of reasoning, which constitutes the vast difference between the minds of different individuals. This is the history alike of the poetic genius and of the genius of discovery in science. “I keep the subject,” said Sir Isaac Newton, “constantly before me, and wait until the dawnings open by little and little into a full light.” It was thus that after long meditation he was led to the invention of fluxions, and to the anticipation of the modern discovery of the combustibility of the diamond. It was thus that Harvey discovered the circulation of the blood, and that those views were suggested by Davy which laid the foundation of that grand series of experimental researches which terminated in the decomposition of the earths and alkalies.
If I have made any improvement in the sciences (any valuable discoveries) , it is owing more to patient attention than to anything beside.
If I have made any valuable discoveries, it has been owing more to patient attention than to any other talent.
The right way to begin is to pay attention to the young, and make them just as good as possible.
After such knowledge, what forgiveness? Think now history has many cunning passages, contrived corridors and issues, deceives with whispering ambitions, guides us by vanities. Think now she gives when our attention is distracted and what she gives, gives with such supple confusions that the giving famishes the craving. Gives too late what’s not believed in, or if still believed, in memory only, reconsidered passion. Gives too soon into weak hands, what’s thought can be dispensed with till the refusal propagates a fear. Think neither fear nor courage saves us. Unnatural vices are fathered by our heroism. Virtues are forced upon us by our impudent crimes. These tears are shaken from the wrath-bearing tree.
Growing old is one of the ways the soul nudges itself into attention to the spiritual aspect of life. The body's changes teach us about fate, time, nature, mortality, and character. Aging forces us to decide what is important in life.
Suffering forces our attention toward places we would normally neglect.
He was a wise man who said: "As I grow older I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do."
We should be inclined to pay more attention to the wisdom of the old, if they showed greater indulgence to the follies of the young.
This is the end I aim at: to acquire knowledge of the union of mind with the whole of nature... To do this it is necessary first to understand as much of nature as suffices for acquiring such knowledge, and second to form a society of the kind which permits as many as possible to acquire such knowledge. Third, attention must be paid to moral philosophy... Fourthly, because health is no small means to achieving this end, the whole of medicine must be worked out. And fifthly... because it is possible to gain more free time and convenience in life, mechanics is in no way to be despised.
In democratic countries, however opulent a man is supposed to be, he is almost always discontented with his fortune because he finds that he is less rich than his father was, and he fears that his sons will be less rich than himself. Most rich men in democracies are therefore constantly haunted by the desire of obtaining wealth, and they naturally turn their attention to trade and manufactures, which appear to offer the readiest and most efficient means of success. In this respect they share the instincts of the poor without feeling the same necessities; say, rather, they feel the most imperious of all necessities, that of not sinking in the world.
His eloquent tongue so well seconds his fertile invention that no one speaks better when suddenly called forth. His attention never languishes; his mind is always before his words; his memory has all its stock so turned into ready money that, without hesitation or delay, it supplies whatever the occasion may require.
To confine our attention to terrestrial matters would be to limit the human spirit.
I am glad that I paid so little attention to good advice; had I abided by it I might have been saved from some of my most valuable mistakes.
An expert is someone who has succeeded in making decisions and judgements simpler through knowing what to pay attention to and what to ignore.
Dealing with complexity is an inefficient and unnecessary waste of time, attention and mental energy. There is never any justification for things being complex when they could be simple.