More from The Attention Merchants
First, on advertising as a decision making lubricant:
Information cannot be acted upon without attention and thus attention capture and information are essential to a functioning market economy, or indeed any competitive process, like an election (unknown candidates do not win). So as a technology for gaining access to the human mind, advertising can therefore serve a vital function, making markets, elections, and everything that depends on informed choice operate better, by telling us what we need to know about our choices, ideally in an objective fashion.
And then an example of that principal in place to sell ads at CBS, early on:
“Here you have the advertiser’s ideal—the family group in its moments of relaxation [listening to the radio] awaiting your message,” said CBS. “Nothing equal to this has ever been dreamed of by the advertising man.” It is, as we shall see, one thing to sell access to the minds, quite another to predict reliably the audience’s frame of mind; and by dictating the moment of infiltration, radio claimed to do just that. At the time and place of CBS’s choosing, the audience would be “at leisure and their minds receptive.”
Overall, The Attention Merchants is good stuff so far.
“It must be inconvenient to be made of flesh,” said the Scarecrow thoughtfully, “for you must sleep, and eat and drink. However, you have brains, and it is worth a lot of bother to be able to think properly.
From, Oz: The Complete Collection, the first book.
The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.
“The Call of Cthulhu,” H.P. Lovecraft
Against these, some two miles away, rose the spectral hump of Federal Hill, bristling with huddled roofs and steeples whose remote outlines wavered mysteriously, taking fantastic forms as the smoke of the city swirled up and enmeshed them. Blake had a curious sense that he was looking upon some unknown, ethereal world which might or might not vanish in dream if ever he tried to seek it out and enter it in person.
“The Haunter of the Dark,” H.P. Lovecraft.