January 23rd, 2016| Topic: RaMbLeS | 2


We’ve always been told about the goldfish and its tiny span of attention. Well, we might be doing that gill-bearing aquatic creature an injustice. Humans, apparently, have an attention span less than that of aforementioned Carassius auratus.

Microsoft recently published a study done in Canada (they employed both surveys for 2,000 people and EEG scans for another 100) that showed that average attention span of humans has fallen precipitously in the last fifteen years. In 2000, people could focus on tasks for 12 whole seconds (a whopping 12,000,000,000 nanoseconds!). But now, in 2015, alas, the attention of humans is terminated after just 8 seconds. Four seconds in 15 years. At this rate, by the end of this current century, we’ll be hard pressed to find anyone paying any attention to anything anymore.

BTW, the attention span of aforementioned C. auratus is … 9 seconds!

It seems that the compulsive tendency of smartphone owners to obsessively check their devices, plus all the things one could do on that apparatus, is to blame for this 30% drop in attention span over the last few years. Too many diversions. And all of them easy to find and access. Besides, when news is reduced to 140 characters and conversations are condensed to emojis, what do you expect? With TVs boasting 500 channels, Spotify and Pandora streaming unlimited number of songs, internet blazing with over 5 billion pages, who has time to pay attention?

Declared Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft:

We are moving from a world where computing power was scarce to a place where it now is almost limitless, and where the true scarce commodity is increasingly human attention.”

“When nothing is occupying my attention, the first thing I do is reach for my phone.”
72% of those between 18–24 years agreed; only 10% of those over 65 years did.

“I check my phone at least every 30 minutes.”
Yes, said 52% of 18–24-year-olds. Yes, said 6% of 65+-year-olds.

“The last thing I do before I go to bed is check my phone.”
73% vs. 18%.

Said one commentator:

We’re all just too freaking busy. While most of our new technologies are in theory meant to save us time, our lives are becoming decidedly more busy and our free time is dwindling to almost nil.”

From the Microsoft study:

The thrill of finding something new often makes connected consumers jump off one experience into another. The ‘feel good’ neurotransmitter, dopamine, is released when consumers are doing something they find rewarding. 19% of online viewers defect in the first 10 seconds.”

But the Bible tells us …

Pray without ceasing.
1 Thessalonians 5:17

Dallas Willard wisely noted:

[P]rayer as a discipline has its greatest force in strengthening the spiritual life only as we learn to pray without ceasing …. We can train ourselves to invoke God’s presence in every action we perform … and our whole lives will be bathed in the presence of God. Constant prayer will only ‘burden’ us as wings burden the bird in flight.”

As children of God, it is imperative that we discipline ourselves for habitual prayer by undertaking regular actual prayer while abstaining, at least temporarily, from some of those distractions of life. At least the disciplines of silence and solitude must be engaged. Otherwise, the presence of God, amidst the hustle and bustle, and the twists and turns of life, will never be consciously acknowledged.

Jesus himself frequently withdrew to the wilderness and prayed.
Luke 5:16

If he needed to remove distractions for prayer, how much more you and I?


  1. Philip Puthenparambil January 28, 2016 at 8:53 am

    This grabbed my “Attention.” Excellent insights for both young and old for “such a time as this.” It is so true that amidst the various non-issues that clutter our lives I/we often miss the only thing that really matters! Keep up the good work, Abe ….


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