Living And Dying In The Attention Economy
Everybody wants to be seen. The drive is unavoidably hammered into our DNA. But capturing anyone’s attention, even for a moment, is quite the challenge these days. So, it’s no surprise to see the extremes people go to satisfy this hard-wired need.
Pulsing with an evolutionary mandate to earn our place in the safety and strength of the group, we are compelled to make a contribution.
Without the automatic community that was naturally built into the prehistoric tribal life for which we were adapted, we have become a touch desperate. Perhaps, even more than a touch.
With our amygdalas constantly freaking out that we’re about to be cast out and eaten by saber-tooth tigers, we scramble to increasingly obscure corners of notoriety. And alternative social groups.
So chronically unsatisfied is our basic need for attention that the underlying social mechanisms that give us the ability to make healthy connections can themselves become dangerously off-rail.
We can too easily get stuck in ineffective behavioral loops.
In some cases we can wind up sitting by ourselves, clambering for online fame. And even when we are “successful” there, the drive for face-to-face, tribalesque belonging is too specific to be satisfied by the love of adoring strangers and unembodied devotees.