Social Question

wundayatta's avatar

How big is the extent of your active interest?

Asked by wundayatta (58568points) April 5th, 2010

This is about what you pay attention to, and how close that circle is drawn. I.e., people might pay attention only to family, and no outside events. People might pay attention to only family and community, and nothing else. Or they might pay attention to national or international events. Additionally, people could pay some attention at any one or all of these levels.

What I’d really like is a sense of where your attention wanders to. Where is it focused? What else do you pay attention to outside of that focus?

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18 Answers

Axemusica's avatar

I’m interested in lots of things, but most people find the things I’m interested in boring. Well, people that I relate to often, e.g. family and some friends.

I’d say I find myself only interested in things that intrigue me. If it just so happens that someone I know happens to find that interesting as well, then so be it. I dunno does that make me kind of selfish?

ZEPHYRA's avatar

I like to believe that my attention interest stretches far, to all the fields you mention. Additionally, I pay attention to anything of metaphysical interest, the motives behind human actions, the warped misinterpretation of religious beliefs and much much more.

MarcoNJ's avatar

Family. Immediate community – meaning my town, not just the block I live on. Then vaguely interested in state, national and international matters.

Other than family and community, my main interest is of the music world. From the up & coming garage band to mainstream pop machines. I’m a music junkie.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I find so many things interesting. The range includes the natural world (mountains and streams and flowers), the social world (relationships among people), the broader social environment (cultures and politics), as well as the infinite possible other worlds and ways of relating to others.

I pursue this interests scientifically and experientially and through literature. I explore many of these by discussing ideas with others.

Travel is an extraordinary way to expand my appreciation of many of these things.

Thanks for such a great question!

Scooby's avatar

I tend to keep a very close eye on my aging Mother, my cats then my siblings, friends, relatives (so far away) my aging neighbours,, I have a keen interest in the great out doors, nature the universe & everything & free will, politics to a certain extent (at home & abroad) until it starts to boil my piss!! :-/ I love history & try to learn from it as much as I can………
whatever takes my fancy really! :-)

Exhausted's avatar

I usually pay attention to whatever slaps me in the face! Seriously though, I tend to live my life in my own little world. The outside pops it’s head in from time to time and I deal with it when it happens, but I generally don’t go out looking for it. I very seldom read the news or watch it on TV. I don’t do many activities outside of my immediate family and close friends. That is enough for me. I want to stay happy and upbeat, so I avoid the overhwhelming scope of the social issues that lurk outside my door. I do what I must to contribute to the systems that support me and devote myself to making the world that my family and friends share with me the best it can be. I guess that makes me somewhat selfish, but I can’t handle much more than that and stay sane.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Up until 2005 my partner and his family came first, my job second and everything else after. I read newspapers for 5 cities everyday as well as online news sites and was pretty miserable. Since then I stopped reading newspapers except at work, put my own needs first, friends and family second and have still been fortunate to find a good partner who fits well in the mix. Together we put our families first, our jobs second which contribute to what we want to build for us as a couple and making new friends to go with a new lifestyle is like a side project.

phillis's avatar

I am interested in what happens behind the headlines, which often vies for the top spot, where my immediate family resides. In other words, why the headlines happen in the first place, who was involved, and what their motives were. What makes a person tick? Human behavior, and how cultural differences come into play, is intensely interesting to me. Detailed communication is a passion of mine, as well. I like mysteries, but not the book type. The mysteries I speak of are the ones where the scene doesn’t match what a person does, while the person works tirelessly to convince you otherwise. Aberrent human behavior is sheer fascination for me.

thriftymaid's avatar

I’m generally interested in many kinds of things on a regular basis. There is no limit to what might spark an interest. Then it’s read read read.

Cruiser's avatar

After family, I need to learn things and take the shotgun approach and why I like Q&A sites. At least once a day someone will touch a subject that intrigues me enough to learn a bit more about it.

wundayatta's avatar

The reason why I asked this is that I found myself thinking ‘I don’t pay much attention to news any more.’ I used to pay attention to my local paper, and the rest of the world through NPR news shows and Marketplace and Terry Gross and Marty Moss-Coane. I read the New Yorker and three science fiction magazines and a magazine that put me in touch with some of the more publicized alternative thinkers around the world.

Now I don’t read anything except a few articles in the New Yorker, a few headlines from the paper and a story or two from one sf magazine. I only listen to the NPR morning and evening news shows. What has taken the rest of my time? Fluther, of course! I learn things here and I tell people things, too.

But I’ve found that reading less makes it harder to ask interesting questions. I don’t know enough.

That makes me unhappy.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

My attention span covers this world and the universe – that’s why I never sleep and am always thinking.

YARNLADY's avatar

I’m interested in a variety of things, from what’s going on in the world, to I hope my pool doesn’t overflow if it rains all night, and how is my family doing right now. Did my political representative get my letter, will my son get a job this week, and when will Hubby finish fixing the light overhead so I can see? My dog is coughing and hacking, will he throw up on the couch? Will I miss my favorite TV show in 30 minutes, or will I remember to turn of the TV? I have already joined in the focus group I belong to, and read all the blogs I’m following. It just ebbs and flows.

phillis's avatar

@YARNLADY Damn, that’s the most on-target answer yet! We DO have those thoughts racing through our minds all the time, especially women….all those little details! How the heck do we manage them? GA.

wundayatta's avatar

@phillis Do you really think that’s about women? It also sounds like the thoughts of someone with ADD or OCD, to me. Perhaps women are more often afflicted with those disorders.

As to how you manage them—sometimes you don’t. And if you’re my wife, you curl up in a ball in my lap, crying and repeating, over and over, I don’t know how to do it. (It was signing our son up for summer camp online—so you know she has to be pretty badly off).

But this woman is the queen of lists. I do not think this is a good thing. I think that is a perfect way to overwhelm yourself. A little convenient forgetting is good, I think. The world will not end if you don’t get everything done. I know it feels like it, but you can’t control your world, whether it encompasses just family, or family and work, or family, work, politics, hobbies, special interests, world peace, the universe and everything. Anyway, having one of us with all those interests is bad enough. Perhaps that’s why I got sick. So I wouldn’t be able to think about all that any more. Or at least, not read about it.

phillis's avatar

@wundayatta I am the last person who can do any finger-pointing at your wife’s difficulty. Some people flow effortlessly with thier daily responsibilities, and some struggle to keep up. Some days, life kicks my ass.

Women tend to naturally think in detail, while men usually focus on whatever’s in front of them at the time. Our brains evolved to think of unrelated things similtaneously, so that we could be more efficient caretakers. If you think about it, it makes sense, since most families have more than one child. We have pets (something with a heartbeat that can feel pain and hunger), children who have constant, ongoing needs well into adulthood, a husband who needs food and basic care (some more than others) and a household to run. A house has 20 different things at once which often overlap each other.

I tend to agree with you about those lists. If she didn’t care so much, the lists would be nonexistent, so it’s actually quite a gift. It’s not that women want to control everything, but that we’re programmed as caretakers, while those who look to us for care are programmed to tell us thier needs. It just so happens that American culture has placed a lot of demands on everybody, so this is what it looks like when genetics and culture combine. It isn’t the same in the Zimbabwe tribes in Africa.

wundayatta's avatar

Keeping track of many things at once? You should come visit me at Thanksgiving. The only thing I write down is when I last basted the turkey and when I’m expecting to take it out.

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