On Distraction

If you are reading this then you are most likely distracted from doing what you should be doing. If  Hanif Kureishi is right then this can be a good a thing. (Hanif Kureishi on Distraction). The article was on the subject of Ritalin and how that can atomize someone's natural creativity to enforce a more standardized view. Of course, this is over-medicated America. But Kureishi, a distracted person himself,  writes:
I might have been depressed as a teenager, but I wasn’t beyond enjoying some beautiful distractions. Since my father had parked a large part of his library in my bedroom, when I was bored with studying I would pick up a volume and flip through it until I came upon something that interested me. I ended up finding, more or less randomly, fascinating things while supposedly doing something else. Similarly, while listening to the radio, I became aware of artists and musicians I’d otherwise never have heard of. I had at least learned that if I couldn’t accept education from anyone else, I might just have to feed myself.

From this point of view — that of drift and dream; of looking out for interest; of following this or that because it seems alive — Ritalin and other forms of enforcement and psychological policing are the contemporary equivalent of the old practice of tying up children’s hands in bed, so they won’t touch their genitals. The parent stupefies the child for the parent’s good. There is more to this than keeping out the interesting: there is the fantasy and terror that someone here will become pleasure’s victim, disappearing into a spiral of enjoyment from which he or she will not return.
But, I digress. Coming back to the subject of distraction, Kureishi at the end talks about the virtues of distraction. Like anything else, it's a fine line to draw the distinction between good and bad distractions:
It is said that distractions are too easy to come by now that most writers use computers, though it’s just as convenient to flee through the mind’s window into fantasy. In the end, a person requires a method. He must be able to distinguish between creative and destructive distractions by the sort of taste they leave, whether they feel depleting or fulfilling. And this can work only if he is, as much as possible, in good communication with himself — if he is, as it were, on his own side, caring for himself imaginatively, an artist of his own life.

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