Agency, not attention is the most valuable resource

This is a correction to a former post of myself. I made the claim that attention, not time is the most valuable resource. This should read: Agency, not attention is the most valuable resource, and hence the title of this post, whereas agency refers to the capacity of an autonomous agent to act in accordance to their goals and wants. All these terms of course are loaded with debate and nitpicking, but phenomenologically speaking, you have agency when you can do what you think you want and you think you want what you actually want and there is some conformity between your actions and your thoughts and your experience.

I suspect it its pretty obvious, that this statement at least is an improvement.

Of course, the former statement is not completely untrue. For most people attention has become the bottleneck to their own agency, but in the past we were much more limited by our time than our attention, and well, the author of the former blog post probably tried to catch this change, as the Zeitgeist at the time still was much more about time management than technological and mental hygiene.

Correctness aside, it was also insensitive. It can be argued that suffering is our experience of a loss of agency, and well, then of course for many sufferers attention will not be the most valuable resource.

Furthermore, the viewpoint of agency is much more use- and helpful. Trying to protect our attention mostly puts us at war with the abstract predatory attention economy, an emergent phenomenon of sightless minmaxing and A/B testing, and a society which is at large not equipped with the tools necessary to face abstract dangers. It is a situation in which we are powerless. Reducing our attention to attention also separates us from people suffering for other reasons, which not only makes us even more powerless due to being fewer in numbers, but also due to reducing our ability to find solutions which are acceptable for everyone.

Finally, we are not limited to fighting the pretty hopeless fight against attention thievery, but we can engage in multiple ways to protect or even extend our agency. We do not need to do whole digital hermit thing, or built some anti-tech bunker as it has become fashionable among rich entertainment creators, but we are empowered to structure our living space in a way that serves us. Maybe we can even reclaim some of the awesome technology we initially built to improve our lives out of the clutches of capitalism.