Tag Archives: attention

Change in meaning

While reading the book In the Cage by Henry James I found myself stuck at times, sometimes it was quite difficult to decipher the meaning of certain words. Occasionally I would go back a few chapters at times to really grasp the message of that particular chapter. This is where I stumbled across a specific phrase from the book that caught my attention. The quote was from chapter 15 and it read: “She had already a vision of how the true answer was that people of her sort didn’t, in such cases, matter–didn’t count as infidelity, counted only as something else: she might have been curious, since it came to that, to see exactly what.”

It seems that the main character (the women) of the book is referring to adultery. She could be implying that her sexual, emotional, or social infidelity with a man like Everard is not considered infidelity. This makes me wonder, what type of values and ethics did individuals hold at that time? Did the wealthy presumably think that adultery committed with the poor didn’t count? Or for that matter, even if adultery did occur between individuals of different socioeconomic class, was it even worth mentioning? Based on history from the past, it was obvious that the wealthy were held up higher, in another sense, they thought they were better than the poor. Bu,t the real question is, did this sort of attitude leak over into their values and ethics of other people? Were the wealthy blinded by their acst due the difference of individuals in society? Or should we blame society as a whole since the women is stating it and she is the one who is poor, implying that the poor and wealthy both understand the rules

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Beneath the Lines

I found today’s discussion about “The Suitable Surroundings” by Ambrose Bierce especially intriguing. The uncut version of the title was especially enlightening. What was Bierce thinking by adding that his publication was an instruction of reading a ghost story by example? By adding this extra line to the title it adds a different dimension to the whole story. Maybe Bierce was trying to imprint the impression into people’s minds (who read the story) that because Marsh died reading this story on July 15, that anyone who chances to read this story in the EXACT surroundings he depicts, will die as well. So, if you look at it that way, in a sense, Bierce has not made an instruction manual in reading a ghost story but a guide to suicide. I realize this is an abstract way to look at the story and recreating the exact atmosphere is next to impossible, but it could be done….

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Young Woman or Old Hag?

This optical illusion is a classic example of how focused attention requires selection and rejection.  It is also a good example of how attention always implies a degree of “attention blindness,” since you can’t program your brain to focus on the young woman and the old hag at the same time. When you see one, you don’t see the other; your brain will not allow it.


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