love the one you're not with

Our attention is fragmentary. 

But I guess that's the nature of our mind. However, the problem is that we live in a society – certainly in the last twenty five years or so – that seems to be almost predicated on an acceptance of being busy, distracted, tired, or overloaded. In other words, we are now willingly, effortlessly, unconsciously, caught up in our fragmentary attentional experiences. And of course this is compounded by our social media usage. 

Look at these images. The mobile has been removed from the photo, and in so doing shows how our connection to our devices is disconnecting us from our most intimate moments. It's like we're unlearning how to be intimate: that we can no longer love the one we’re with without equally loving the device that disconnects us from the one we’re with.

 This is a new - and potentially terrifying - mode of conscious awareness: to occupy the same space intimately whilst at the same time being completely disconnected. At least that's the perspective of Eric Pickersgill, the photographer who took this series of images and entitled them Removed.

We encounter representations of such disconnectedness every day. In a minute or two I hope to finish writing this piece and pick up the kids from school. Whilst waiting in the playground the phone will be with me. I couldn't imagine it being anywhere other than in my back pocket. It will then see me through a perceived desultory moment or two prior to them emerging from their teacher's class. By which time I'll be caught up, perhaps. By what, I'm not sure. But I know that if I relent to its war on my attention I’ll get caught up.

At least mindfulness teaches me to recognise that. It gives me the space to check in with that moment and then choose. But many of us are now oblivious to how choice has been taken away. We're too caught up. We're too lost. Too disconnected. 

It's even possible that we've been distracted out of wanting our attention back.

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