Continuous partial attention means that we are paying attention to many things, but at a superficial level. We're never completely tuning in to one thing because of the other stimuli competing for our attention.
- It's checking in on Facebook while the professor lectures.
- It's pulling out the smartphone while on a date with your wife.
- It's tweeting in the middle of a sermon.
- It's missing out on what's here because we're wondering what's going on somewhere else that we're missing.
- It's never being able to pray because we're too distracted.
What's lost is the ability to pay attention, to sustain thought, to be fully present. And that's a shame when it comes to our most important relationships, not to mention our ability to think and pray.
I know two things. One: this is not a good way to live. Two: it's dangerous to the soul. Could this be one of the greatest pastoral issues that we are facing today?