Attention Span

Work By Rob van Avesaath Photography Remy Frints

Attention Span

The duration of our attention span is often considered to express our intelligence. Does the length of our suspension of disbelief then say something about our creative abilities? It has been claimed that a good measure of intelligence is that we can hold two contradictory ideas in our mind at the same time. Could this be a measure of something else too? Our suspension of disbelief? Our creativity? Perhaps the true measure of intelligence is the realization that we actually have two contradictory ideas in our heads at the same time. And what is intelligence anyway? We could try a new label to take the annihilating sting out of the equation. Well, because if you are not intelligent, you must be the opposite. Say we call it appreciation in place of intelligence. How does that change anything?


If we appreciate something, we take time to observe and investigate it. Is that smart? Or is it just a natural response to something that has grabbed our attention. Can we not help it anyway?


If we are easily bored, does that make us less appreciative? Non-appreciative? You see the opposite to appreciative feels more like behavior than ability. Perhaps it is not our fault there might be nothing stimulating to see. What if we do not know what we are looking at? From a state of being uninformed you have to work much harder to foster interest. But is it necessary to learn to appreciate depth in everything? We cannot all be fascinated by everything, that just would not be practical. How would we ever get anything done if we were constantly stopped in our tracks? We seem to be programmed to find one thing more attractive than another. So what determines where we focus our attention?

All that sparkles

Things that sparkle always draw our attention. Perhaps that is because there was a time when we had to regularly find fresh water, and a running stream sparkles in sunlight. So sparkling fascinates us and we do not ask why.  When an object is bathed in light, we are drawn to it. But all these eye-catchers soon lose their shine, our suspension of disbelief is shattered, if we discover they are not what we supposed they were. Our creativity goes unrewarded and so our appreciation fades.

We stow away our appreciation. Reserving our interest for something worthwhile. We know it will come along. No point in spanning our attention in vain. It is the intelligent thing to do.

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Cabinets of Curiosity

We are curious makers of things, things we dream up ourselves. Remarkable, useful, beautiful and original things. Sometimes they are made entirely by hand, sometimes partly by machine, in the future perhaps by robots. May be not robots. Always with an eye for detail and with an element of fun.

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