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Series: The Art of Living
Author(s): Damon Young  
ISBN: 1844652548
ISBN-13: 9781844652549
Publication Date: 31/05/2010
Pages: 184 (216 x 138mm)
Format: Paperback
Published Price: £10.99
Discount Price: £8.79
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In Distraction, the philosopher Damon Young explores distraction in our lives, and shows that distraction is not simply too many stimuli. Instead, it’s a confusion about what to attend to and why. If we are “dying already”, as Heidegger cheerily put it, then we only have so many days to invest. To commit to this job, this spouse, this leisure, this gadget means withdrawing time, energy and wherewithal from other possibilities. In an age of innumerable, intense diversions, Young argues, we need to be clearer than ever about what is important, and not be waylaid when seeking it.

Drawing on the lives of luminaries like Seneca, Henri Matisse, Karl Marx, T. S. Eliot, and Henry James, Young takes us on a fascinating journey into the heart of distraction. In an engaging and witty analysis, he explores the nature of work and free time, the challenges of technology, the deceptions of politics, art as an antidote to distraction, and the importance of caring for ourselves without retreating from others. Young clarifies his subject with the work of thinkers including Nietzsche, Foucault, Heidegger, Marcuse, Bourdieu, and Schiller, but always in a lively and accessible way.

Young argues that distraction is a basic impediment to freedom: the freedom to pursue a life of one’s own. The opposite of distraction is a life of liberty, which takes up the challenge of existence; the struggle to flourish within the limitations of mortality. For anyone who’s ever imagined a less restless, fractured life, it will be inspiring reading.

"This warm and witty book does something wonderful: it brings the great ideas of philosophy into our lives. Young is a bright new voice." – John Armstrong, author of Love, Life, Goethe: How to be Happy in an Imperfect World

Damon Young is an Honorary Fellow in Philosophy at the University of Melbourne.

1. Manholes and Tears
2. What a Piece of Work Is a Man
3. The Reins of Necessity
4. A Farewell to Arms
5. Matisse's Hernia
6. The Private Life
7. Footnotes to Plato
Balancing the Books