We humans have limited resources at our disposal: time and energy (well, one could also make a case for money as a resource, but I would argue that money is just a medium to exchange time and energy). The limited-resource nature of human is precisely because we all will die some day. Thus, people usually choose to use their resources wisely so they can be the happiest possible. And as the result of that, we have the definition of what people care about.
Now, I’m not a linguistic expert. So there might be a better word than care to represent the concept discussed in this article. Attention is not the best fit because that word leans more on the side of shor time span, moments to moments. And economy of attention is such a ridiculous name amirite? (Jk Mark, ya tha best). For now, I will define:
To CARE is to believe something is worth spending our limited resources on in the long run.
For example, I spend time and energy to learn music, play music, perform music, promote music because I believe music is the necessary tool to enhance our life, emotionally; therefore, I care about music.
There could be a range of intensity regarding our cares. A person who enjoys spending time (resources) listening to music cares about music. A person who spends time and energy (more resources) to learn playing music cares more about music. A person who convinces other people to expend their limited resources to learn about music as well cares deeply about music.
People can convince others that something is worth dedicating our resources to more than other things. That’s often refered to as politics, in its best form. Convincing other people could be as simple as me inviting my close friends to learn more about music with me. If we dial the act of convincing others all the way up, it could be actively trying to change the rule of a workplace, a city, or a country to include mandatory music in citizen’s everyday life.
On a related note, keep coming back to the music tab of my blog and see if I can pull you toward the music cult. Because I do care deeply about the positive effect of music to us.
We all have our vocations, not necessarily jobs, but things that we care deeply about and want to devote our time to the most. With this view, even though I don’t necessarily put as much care to some issues as some other people. For example, this could mean I don’t care about endangered animals as much as I care about music, or as much as some other people would care about endemgered animals.
That is fine! Why? Because diversity of interests and backgrounds of different people in the world would ensure that those issues are given appropriate cares to. Plus, if something is truly worth spending our resources on, the people who cares deeply about them will come along and convince me to do the same. That convince could come in a form of: “Hey Thien, if endangered animals go extinct, [something about nature] will change, so global warming will be more severe, and we cannot live comfortably to enjoy our music.” I could be open to that. Many people could listen to that logic, if taylored correctly to their individual interests.
Boom! The Economy of Care, baby!
I believe in the system where everyone commits the best of their resources for what they truly care about, and win over people hearts commit their resources as well. Everyone has different interests. And that is what creates the balance in the society.
That’s why I always respect people who have something they enthusiastically care about and put in the resources to see those things become reality, even if I don’t care about those things, yet.
Now go figure out what you and others should dedicate resources to! We all have our unique ways of contributing to this world. Let them be heard. Participate in this economy of care!