by Ana Pura, Isadora Martins and Tarik Fraig
The authentic and pure values — truth, beauty and goodness — in the activity of a human being are the result of one and the same act, a certain application of the full attention to the object.
Three learning activists gave themselves the opportunity to educate their sensibilities in an unusual way by reading a 3-page philosophical essay throughout 2 months of artistic online experimentation in the middle of the pandemic. Ana Pura, Isadora Martins and Tarik Fraig plunged into Simone Weil’s “Attention and Will” by breathing in the here & now and reading very slowly: incorporating the flavour of the expression, bringing life to words by repeating precious excerpts, and letting new and fresh meanings organically flourish.
Method for understanding images, symbols, etc. Not to try to interpret them, but to look at them till the light suddenly dawns.
At the end — under a dome of a true attentional atmosphere inspired by the author of the beautiful quote “Attention is the purest and rarest form of generosity” — they had developed a protocol of deep attention & philosophy reading (see below). The protocol-ritual was taken seriously, consciously, and also played with spontaneously, lightly.
Weil opens up an approach to attention that is an antidote to the current state of affairs on attention commodification in our surveillance capitalism sociotechnosystem. She inspires us to discern between will and desire, only the second one being unattached from control and thus the kind of effort — of supreme effort! — that can make us close to what we love. “Absolutely unmixed attention is prayer”, an “attention so full that the ‘I’ disappears”, a “non-active action” that brings our wretchedness home and keeps our attention turned towards the good.
Purity is the power to contemplate defilement.
The three friends discovered worlds between words — and that this poetic exercise could become an alternative to conventional and academic approaches of reading and thinking towards a more philosophical and attentive life.
As soon as we have a point of eternity in the soul, we have nothing more to do but to take care of it, for it will grow of itself like a seed.
Attentive Reading Protocol
p r a e s e n t i a
slowly breath, giving yourself time to simply be
(un)intended consequence :: be present. scrape away pre-determined opinions and judgements
r e v e r e n t i a
slowly read, each one a paragraph at a time
(un)intended consequence :: incorporate the flavour of the expression
let us revere the piece of text before us, let it come to us
take it seriously, consciously
from a mind that doesn’t do, but that does feel and perceive
a moment of magnifying glass
of a poetic exercise
savouring not meaning, but resonating sounds
undressing words from the veil of banality
as if we were reading it for the first time — because we are
do not fear,
you may theatrically interpret
you may move your hands and body accordingly
you may get impressed, be impressed, not chase but encounter and discover worlds between words
r u m i n a t i o
feel how the text came to you and choose a sentence. say it out loud. each other one repeats it.
go twice for each attentionaut.
(un)intended consequence :: plunge into preciousness
vivify the text digest and redigest it, repeat until it becomes different
become aware of the latent potency in a single phrase
how does your energetic signature (your sensibility, your free will, you intonation) deflect and
offer a renewed expression of art?
r e f r a c t i o
translate the chosen sentence into your own words. let it flourish spontaneously
(un)intended consequence :: open a field of trust and intuitive resonance
i release control of understanding and give permission for words to become stamped onto my skin, under a prior perception of what poetically emerges
i can dress it, stroke it, be embraced by it
i do not search for a meaning; i open myself to other possibilities of meaning
a b u n d a t i o
fifth step :: free bubbling
(un)intended consequence :: overflowing of what is alive
the text is an invitation
“come closer. do not consume me. experience us. express yourself” prepare not by knowing but by surrendering, no dogma in this mantra in order to become filled with emptiness, feast in linger and absorption
sacredly satiate in sufficiency
Wanderer and apprentice since birth, Ana Pura (aka Ana C. G. Marques) is an attention activist who designs regenerative experiences under the principles of love, clarity, transformation and high-level fun. Opening paths for potentials to come to life brings her ultimate joy, alongside the sharpness of disillusionment and the empowerment of responsibility. She moves rapidly and unhurriedly between attentē, where she magnetizes attentionauts around deep attention pratices, and nōvi and MoL, where she supports communities and organizations foment autonomous learning cultures.
Isadora Martins is an educator and facilitator for self-directed learning communities. Currently, she has been conducting artistic and poetic investigation meetings with children in the neighborhood where she lives, in the city of Brotas, São Paulo, where she also conducts art workshops for people with disability assisted by the public Social Service. She investigates poetic listening and enchantment with the world as a form of resistance – and existence.
Tarik Fraig is an educator and writer who works with philosophy learning projects with teenagers and adults in public schools and in informal settings. He is the author of the book Sensing for Oneself – Six Lessons on the Education of Sensibility, basing his educational practice on an ethical and aesthetic paradigm.