"Recently it has become more evident that attention is the basic commodity to be exploited. Ben Franklin's old adage needs to be updated: not time is money but attention is money. According to Jonathan Rowe's article 'Carpe Callosum,' the key economic resource of this new economy is not something they provide, it's something we provide 'mindshare,' to use the new idiom. But, he asks, 'What if there's only so much mind to share? If you've wondered how people could feel so depleted in such a prosperous economy, how stress could become the trademark affliction of the age, part of the answer might be here.'. . .
"The Liberation of Collective Attention. Who owns our attention, and who should have the right to decide what happens to it? Rowe concludes that we need a new freedom movement, to 'battle for the cognitive commons. If we have no choice regarding what fills our attention, then we really have no choice at all.' From a Buddhist perspective, however, it seems doubtful that any social protest movement could be successful without an alternative understanding of what our attention is and what alternative practices promote more liberated attention. It is not enough to fight against billboards and Internet banner ads without also considering: what does it really mean for awareness to be here-and-now, deconditioned from attention traps both individual and collective? Is awareness to be valued as a means to some other end, or should we cherish its liberation as the most valuable end? The Buddhist answer to such questions is clear. What is less clear is what role that answer might play in our collective response to the challenge.”