A cybernetics of distraction?

There’s an interesting aside in Andrew Pickering’s The Cybernetic Brain on pg 98 which has left me thinking about why I’m so interested in distraction:

Here he tied his essay into a venerable tradition in psychiatry going back at least to the early twentieth century, namely, that madness and mental illness pointed to a failure to adapt—an inappropriate mental fixity in the face of the flux of events.

While I obviously don’t think distraction is a mental illness, I do think it can be characterised as a failure to adapt. But as insufficient mental fixity in the face of events, as opposed to an excess of fixity. It is a failure to find form, a distinct stance towards a situation liable to give rise to action within it.

4 thoughts on “A cybernetics of distraction?

  1. I just finished reading this: https://www.wired.com/story/how-the-videogame-aesthetic-flows-into-all-of-culture/ and found the one-size-fits-all theorisation of ‘flow’ in all kinds of digital experiences a bit too convenient (even after the considering the author’s predicament while he tries to fit his book-length argument into a tiny article). I went back and read some of your entries conceptualising ‘distraction’. It seems the author of the Wired article is overcompensating the popular perception / stigma of ‘distraction’ when it comes to digital experiences and valorising them as some kind of techno-religious ‘flow’.

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