When it’s digested by the Leviathan, attention turns into something more palatable for the human economy: profit, emotional and social leverage, or simply an amplification of the information as it was originally consumed (also known as a “Retweet”). To the Leviathan, this is what we humans look like: pockets of attention to be mined, shards of processing power where its vast excesses of information can be temporarily stored.
Attention is its own bait and hook, of course. The Leviathan deploys it with cunning, giving us a taste via public profiles, website personalization, and all the little inflections of the “intimacy economy”. We see it, a morsel of love and appreciation, dangling from the hooks of social media and pointing toward the phantoms of fame and infamy, and we are fish, drawn to its succor. Of course, the bit of food on the line is just there to drag us into the content flow, where we’re eaten in turn.
By this mechanism, the Leviathan reveals itself to be a fully economic beast, mediating an exchange of absence and presence, and thereby generating both in turn… a living engine of desire, designed to wring every trace of attention out of its environment. Looking into its eyes, we see ourselves reflected back, and we find the cheapening of the intellect laid bare: it’s the inevitable reduction of the human subject, as trivial as it is, into something that the Leviathan can consume as efficiently as possible.