How we pay attention, and what we pay attention to, can reflect both our personal and societal values, which change over time. At Probable Futures, we’ve found that learning about how attention shapes our world can help us intentionally develop a mindset distinctly different from the one that led us to climate instability. As you explore this collection, consider: How can we use our attention to foster new ways of thinking, acting, and living that honor the natural environment?
An opinion piece by Ezra Klein
“McLuhan’s view is that mediums matter more than content; it’s the common rules that govern all creation and consumption across a medium that change people and society. Oral culture teaches us to think one way, written culture another. Television turned everything into entertainment, and social media taught us to think with the crowd.”
A talk by Jenny Odell
“In nature, things that grow unchecked are considered parasitic or cancerous. And yet we live in a culture that routinely privileges novelty and growth over the cyclical and the generative. And our very idea of productivity is premised on the idea of producing something entirely new, whereas we don’t see things like maintenance and care as productive in the same way…”
Essays by Ross Gay
“It didn’t take me long to learn that the discipline or practice of writing these essays occasioned a kind of delight radar. Or maybe it was more like the development of a delight muscle. Something that implies that the more you study delight, the more delight there is to study.”
Go outdoors and spend time in the physical world. Notice the intersections between the natural world and the built environment: a sewer drain, an A/C unit, the foundation of a building. Take time to simply notice, reflect, and think about all the ways in which our human systems rely on nature.
These compilations of literature, film, art, and other media have been thoughtfully selected by the Probable Futures team and our collaborators. The diversity of material included is intended to foster a deeper understanding of our planet and our civilization, challenge conventional thinking, and help us all envision ways to live well in a changing climate and world.