8 Seconds

Time magazine reports that the new attention span is eight seconds.

My attention span has to be measured in years, if “attention” and “span” are to be taken seriously and in tandem. I know it sounds like a lot of attention and a lot of span. But that’s the way my mind works. I can’t say that I recommend it for others.

This sets up a conflict. It is, first, one of the things that makes me a very annoying person. Writers, if they have anything to say worth saying, are damned annoying anyway, so starting there and adding a memory like mine, the capacity to annoy others is industrial in scope.

I absorbed Arnold Toynbee’s historical method and Edmund Husserl’s phenomenology and integrated them. That makes the stones sing. Sometimes shutting those stones up can be quite a chore.

I remember details of important conversations from thirty years ago like they happened yesterday. And yes, I remember the stupid things I’ve said and done better than the errant remarks and actions of others.

Put that kind of memory next to my capacity to hold a grudge, there has to be a special talent at forgiveness to match it or life would be grim.

This morning, though, I woke up and was finally able to forgive someone who had been a pretty close friend of mine for an out-of-nowhere violent attack on me. I’m not talking about a verbal attack, but a serious, deliberate, violent physical attack. I never understood, really, why it happened. I’ve speculated, but I never inquired, never wanted to inquire, and in fact have never spoken to the person again. I have run into him from time to time, but have never said a word to him.

But I have held that grudge for about thirty-four years, though I never intended to do anything more about it. It was settled in that respect the night it happened. Over and done with.

I forgive that person because it was a weight on me and I’m sure a weight of another kind on him.

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