Years ago, I read an article in Wired Magazine that predicted the end of money as our currency of exchange, replaced by what the author called attention. The suggestion was that in a world filled with goods and information, the resource that is scarce is not money, but attention. Everyone: websites, Facebook, TV, advertisers, are vying for attention, so therefore, it is becoming a currency. In doing a bit of research, I found that this theory has been developed mostly by economist Michael Goldhaber, who said back in 1997, “…the flow of attention will not only anticipate the flow of money, but replace it altogether.”
I was particularly struck by his term “the currency of attention.” When we “pay attention” are we not engaging in a kind of exchange? If I don’t have enough attention, I miss out on essential things ranging from bargains to knowledge to nuance. When I give something my full attention, whether it’s a conversation, or my own breath, I profit.
Feldenkrais Practitioners use the currency of attention in every lesson. As we listen, touch and move, there is literally a current that moves between teacher and student. I am attending to the person, the movement, and myself, creating an exchange that enriches the student far more than if they purchased some tangible item designed to increase quality of life. Yes, they are “paying” for my attention, but in return, they are receiving something that will never go out of style. Here’s a great video from some Australian colleagues that illustrates the benefits of our attention in Functional Integration.