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Harrison Bergeron Concentration Aid

Harness the power of distraction.
  [vote for,

In the Vonnegut story Harrison Bergeron, the protagonist must wear special headphones. He is more intelligent than average, so to bring his intelligence down to the average level he must wear headphones that produce randomly timed, random noises. This interrupts his train of thought, preventing him from any serious thinking.

There are many items in daily life (pagers, secretaries, kids) that serve the same function, though in a less organized way. A person used to these distractions who can escape them from a short time is often surprised at how productive they become.

Why not use this effect in a controlled manner? I propose headphones just as those used in the story, which a person can wear to practice their concentrating skills. This is analogous to those swimmers who practice wearing loads of ancient ripped up swimsuits, so on the day of the match wearing only the meet suit, they are extra speedy.

These headphones could plug into the computer and receive distractions via the web, to enable a never-repeating repertoire. Then when you really need to be sharp, take the headphones off - your powers of concentration will be unparallelled.

bungston, Apr 04 2003

Harrison Bergeron http://www.freerepu...m/a3a9336e46dd1.htm
What a fine story. Glad I reread it _after_ the idea. [bungston, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]

HB: Imagination Limiter / Instant Concentration http://www.halfbake...ant_20Concentration
A diametrical idea from the HB circa Jan 2002 [bristolz, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

The film http://us.imdb.com/Details?0113264
The made-for-TV adaptation of the novel [rrr, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]


       [Bristolz], you understand my device here is the Bizarro world opposite of the Instant Concentration device you linked to.
bungston, Apr 04 2003

       Link amended.
bristolz, Apr 04 2003

       Would they be random, skull-crushing sounds like in the story or merely distracting, like models conversing about brassieres?
kevindimie, Apr 04 2003

       Isn't this idea baked in the 1/2B? :p The 1/2B seems to work quite well in what this idea describes minus the headphones. Of course, you add some text-to-speech software to this idea and you have the ultimate in distraction: a computer constantly reading ideas and annotations from the 1/2B to you.
wan-fu, Apr 05 2003

       Eggzackly. Has anyone here ever worn VR goggles as a monitor set to the 'bakery?
thumbwax, Apr 06 2003

       I remember the story. Athletic people had to wear metal suits and attractive people had to wear bags over their heads etc cetera. If I lived in that world, boy, would I be in trouble (or... perhaps not)
SpocksEyebrow, May 05 2005


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