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Related: amusement - attention - entertainment - escapism - digression - pleasure

Contrast: concentration - seriousness

[Georges] Duhamel calls the movie "a pastime for helots, a diversion for uneducated, wretched, worn-out creatures who are consumed by their worries a spectacle which requires no concentration and presupposes no intelligence which kindles no light in the heart and awakens no hope other than the ridiculous one of someday becoming a 'star' in Los Angeles." Clearly, this is at bottom the same ancient lament that the masses seek distraction whereas art demands concentration from the spectator. That is a commonplace. --The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, 1936

The masses seek distraction whereas art demands concentration from the spectator. [Jun 2006]


Distraction is the process of diverting the attention of an individual (or group) from one subject to something else. There can be a number of causes for distraction, including random surfing on the Internet, absent-mindedly switching through television channels, and sporadic reading. Distraction is a major cause of procrastination.--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distraction [Nov 2006]

Distraction vs concentration

Distraction and concentration form polar opposites which may be stated as follows: A man who concentrates before a work of art is absorbed by it. He enters into this work of art the way legend tells of the Chinese painter when he viewed his finished painting. In contrast, the distracted mass absorbs the work of art. This is most obvious with regard to buildings. Architecture has always represented the prototype of a work of art the reception of which is consummated by a collectivity in a state of distraction. The laws of its reception are most instructive." -- Walter Benjamin quoted in WAAMR, 1936

Distraction by the media

The media (television, or reading and editing Wikipedia articles), can be a source of distraction.

Distraction (or addiction thereto) may lead to a person's neglecting other duty. Sometimes this is referred to as addiction, particularly in more extreme cases. The case of Shawn Woolley was one such case: he became particularly involved in the computer game Everquest and quit his job to dedicate upwards of 12 hours a day to playing the game.

Neil Postman wrote a book—Amusing Ourselves to Death—about how television and newspapers distract us. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distraction#Distraction_by_the_Media [Jun 2006]

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