As humans, when we are asked why we do something, we have an arsenal of answers ready at our command. We come forth with the “It makes me happy”, “because I think it is right”, “passion”, “this is what needs to be done”, and numerous other answers as well. Basically, what we are all trying to do is to find a reason to justify our actions. The answer to the question, “why?”.
There is another basic instinct that is at work here, which is actually the one thing that we crave for while doing all our actions and yet, the one thing that we are ashamed of admitting that we are after. It is so because admitting to that reason makes you “not cool” or something else of the sort.
What is that basic instinct? Have you ever wondered why criminals are given Jail sentences as punishments? More importantly, do you know what the worst punishment is that can be given to a criminal while in Jail? Apart from all the hard work, bad food and punishing, the most scariest of them all is solitary confinement.
To be in a cell, alone, away from humans, without even being paid the slightest of attention. Prolonged stay in solitary confinement breaks a person down emotionally.
Lack of attention is what channels people’s minds in different directions. When I say people, that includes everyone from a little baby to a kid, boy, a youth, middle-aged and old ones. All of them require attention for their lives to go on.
I have experienced this scenario first hand with a cousin brother of mine, who was entrusted in the care of one of my uncle’s family, because his Mom had to undergo certain treatment and his Dad had to be in another country for work.
This kid was a modest and silent child, sweet and gentle. He was 9 years of age or so. However, his stay at his uncle’s slowly started changing him. He started causing silly troubles, engaging in constant fights, and also started having constant mood outs. He wanted to do something to gain attention. It did not matter what he did nor what kind of attention he gained. Whether it be good or bad did not matter, as long as it provided him with a little of someone’s time.
Almost all of us have other’s attention all the time and thus, as is our nature, we take that for granted and build up huge philosophical mountains on our ego to cover up this basic instinct of ours. If you talk to doctors, you can see that a huge number of patients are coming there to consult him without any real diseases. Especially old people, when they are cast aside without being heard and attended to (attended as in, talked with and heard by), the way that they see to get attention is by conjuring up diseases which do no actually exist so that they can at least visit the doctor. This is true even in the case of young people and not just old ones.
People have connections with people whom they receive attention from. I believe this is the fundamental factor behind love. For when two people are in love, they both give each other their ‘time’ more than anything else in the world. Your time is the greatest gift that you can give one person and time means attention. Also just look at your friend’s circle. Are you friends with anyone who does not pay you attention no matter how much good that guy is? Of course not! You are happy with your circle because they give you attention. No matter whatever greatness and goodness that other fellow has.
I believe that is the reason why certain students get into “bad company” too. Because most of the studious and enlightened students in the class might not have time to tolerate and hear what certain weak students have to say. This basically puts that weak kid in a situation where, in order to gain attention, he tries all sorts of students in his class, and figures out that there is a bunch from whom he can get attention easily. All you have to know are gossips about celebrities and movies. You need not learn math nor do hard work. And since the society nowadays encourages you watching movies and knowing gossips, that weak kid finds that he has an easy way to gain attention and thus, gets into that company.
We talk about ‘passion’ as a reason for doing things. Have you ever thought what would happen if no one notices you when you do the ‘things’ that you claim you are passionate about? In my case, I claim ‘writing’ to be one of my passions. Would I still write if I had 0 hits day and night on my blog after having over 130 posts? Nope. I would have given up way before. Free software, open source, programming being the other things, would you stick to any of those if people did not pay you any attention? Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not saying people do things without any other reason. I’m just saying that the fundamental reason why people do things is for attention.
People are blessed with interests and likes. That is why they pay attention when they see or hear things that they like. That is how attention is passed around.
I had stated in one of my earlier posts that people did not have passion these days because they were not getting bored. However, a more valid argument would be that people do not have a passion these days because they do not have any lack of attention. Because they have the Internet and especially because they have the social networking sites, they get as much attention as they want. They need not do anything creative in order to get attention. They just need an e-mail account and a few clicks on these sites.
When people do not have attention, they do creative things. Things that others are not capable of doing, in order to bring attention to themselves. I believe that is how passion is born. These days, people who do not entirely succumb to the attention from Social Networking, or for that matter from any other communication media, get to be creative. The lesser the attention that you get, the more creative that you become. This creativity can be for good purposes or bad ones. It does not matter.
You know how people crave for power. How people like to be in the ruling committee no matter how much risk they have to take. What is power if not but attention magnified a thousand times? Attention is more or less like money. You can live decently if you have enough. But you never stop trying to get more. Inspiration, motivation, everything has the fundamental factor of attention attached to it.
So basically what I’m saying here is that everything you do is for attention. Well, everything? Nope. Not everything. You do things for one more reason, and that is addiction!
This is scary. Really scary if you know what I mean. Even if you do not get an ounce of attention, you will go about doing this. Just to mention a few of the common ones – drugs, porn and gaming. You succumb to these even if you do not get any external attention. These are things to watch out for because you would be a lot better if you give your time to almost anything else.
So, don’t be afraid to admit that you need attention. It is something that we all need. Something without which we cannot live. On this, you may create as many pillars of philosophical reasons for the things that you do. It is upto you.