Brixton Hughes

Complex ideas require the investment of a certain amount of time to comprehend, let alone improve. The mass media and those that wield it to control our culture have been engaging in a systematic effort to shorten the average American attention span. I can’t speak to other cultures or languages, because I am immersed in this one, but I suspect shortened attentions spans are a global problem.

My colleagues and I at CDDF Productions have been trying to counter this trend for a couple of decades. We were quite explicit about these efforts during The Temple Tapes. What follows is an exercise designed to help you stretch your attention span. It is a series of interrelated videos designed as meditation pieces of increasing length. The idea is to work from the shortest, approximately 10 seconds, up to the full 5 minute video, then realize that 5 minutes is still very short.

This A/V meditation series is like physical therapy for your mind. Psychical therapy designed to help interested adherents stretch out their attention span. Ready? The first clip is 11 seconds long. This is the average viewing time for all of the videos I have posted on vimeo and youtube. It is also the average attention span of modern humans. Almost everyone should be able to watch and listen to this entire clip. It is intentionally annoying and split into parts by the audio track. Once you have mastered this short clip and can pick out 1 or 2 pieces in the whole, recognize that you are little better than average.

The second step is a bit deep. It clocks in a 1:28 or 88 seconds. Again, split into pieces by the audio track. Pay attention to the sound. Realize that this is shorter than most TV commercial breaks and listen again. If you still need help, try these intermediate length videos. Neither has sound so that the time seems longer than 30 seconds or so.

Ultimately, you will want to be able to watch and listen to the 4:56 full length version for 296 seconds without wishing it were over already. That’s a 27X increase in your average attention span, yet we are only half way to a long form interview on main$tream media.


Video list:

11 seconds

28 seconds

34 seconds

88 seconds

296 seconds