Pagan News and Views Since 1998
By Ed 'The Pagan' Hubbard
Attention is the singular most important aspect of today's world. With attention anything is possible, and without it, nothing can happen. What is attention? Attention is the focused mental engagement on a particular item of information or activity. Attention is a resource a person has only so much of.
Attention is a rare resource, in which all sources of power and authority in the world wish to control, and in essence, taking away your ability to discern what is useful and what is not. They seek your attention to take as much control of your will, your ability to make decisions, and control those outcomes. Through your attention, they can control your will.
In magic, we discuss the Will as the essential focus, and the way we develop our will is through the control of our attention. So in essence, our will keeps us focused, so that we learn. So where we act in will, creates our attention. Our will allows us to pay attention to our awareness, the byproduct of our attention, attend to a particular item or thought, and then we decide to act on it. Our will creates the focus needed to create our magical flow.
So let's break it down:
Will is the act of directing the mind to an object or activity. Once the will is engaged, it creates attention that a someone or something is is interesting and important. The stronger the will, the greater the attention, and that is what we call focus. What we focus on creates the ability to act and create based on our will. Attention is the bridging factor we all must control.
In the emerging new economy, the most valuable asset you can accumulate is not money, maybe not wealth, or knowledge but rather your ability to control your own attention and focus. Focus determines how well we can improve something. Focus what generates long term success,. Focus leads to deeper more meaningful relationships. Focus leads to self awareness.
In our current world, the principles, the powers that be, want your attention unfocused, so that they can create the desires, hungers and needs you have, and control those actions you take. They want to strip you of your personal will, the vital core of magic, which can change your life, command your personal power. They want you as much a creature of habit and predictability as possible. The very opposite of what a magical person is.
So when we as Magicians say, 'Magic flows where Attention goes', we are literally saying our will creates the focus for our attention, and our attention creates the actions and awareness needed to create change. Our attention then allows us to see where our acts, be they words, gestures, work or any form of activity has a way to create the needed energy, the subtle deeds, and the push that allows us to bring about results of our choosing in the world. In a world where attention has become the rarest of resources, the abilty to wield magic becomes the most disruptive and valuable power within our world today.
Why Authority is shifting in the Pagan Community
The Pagans of the 21st century, in the 3rd decade, has grown beyond most expectations. Only a few visionaries foresaw and predicted where we would be in terms of numbers, resources and acceptance. Now as we see this growth accelerate, we see a shift in what is seen as leadership and authority in our community. We are now entering the Attention economy, and that has forever altered how the Pagan community functions.
As humans, we have know that control of rare resources grants authority and power to those who do control. First it was food, until it became abundant. Then land became the rare resource, until we found land everywhere. Next was labor, until population and machines became abundant. We then we dealt in knowledge, and that became rare resource. For most of humanity access to information was limited. In fact, our teachings as Pagans, over centuries were not available except orally. Oppression of the written word and illiteracy combined to limit who had a deep understanding, and gave them authority over their community. That power of knowledge has now been broken, creating a shift, and most leadership is still in the belief that knowledge is the essential authority in our community.
Scarcity in our world, be it the mainstream or Pagan is no longer knowledge. There is a abundance of knowledge as there is abundance of food, land or labor. The scarcity is now attention, what we spend our thoughts on, create our focus on, and eventually act on. If knowledge is no longer calculable in and of itself, then authority in our community shifts to those who can gather attention and act upon it. Where the magic goes is where attention flows, and that is essential. No longer is being a author, writer, creator of knowledge enough to be seen as authority. Now it goes to those who can create attention and have people act on that attention.
As leadership, traditional teachers, Elders and officers of the traditions are wrestling with their legacies, feeling as if they are not heard or respected, we see the emergence of a community of heavily book learned, video fed, and audio savvy community. The difference in seeing knowledge as the standard of respect and the seeing the ability to create experiences that feeds attention as the new standard is a gap to be bridged. Those who demand and require respect for their accomplishments, their writings and teachings will find their legacy will diminish and eventually disappear. It has already occurred to many who have passed into spirit.
The next form of leadership in this Attention Economy will be those who have knowledge ad experience to become trainers, coaches, advisors, facilitators. As trainers, they will take teachings and give them practice in how to use that knowledge, how to cast the rituals needed. As coaches, once members are trained, how to improve in your magic and specialized skills on a personal basis. As they move into their power, to provide advise and ways to increase their speakers. Once the members move into leadership, facilitate and create opportunities to use their skills and talents. This is what the Attention Age looks like. Less hierarchal and far more cooperative. Those who master these skills will be able have their authority recognized and capable of creating change within our community. Paganism is changing and it's all about attention.