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Recreation and the Mental State of Absorption


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About the Book

The phenomenon of “absorption” or the intense focusing of attention that results in a sense of escape and diversion is examined here. In this context, the principal areas of adult recreation are examined: stories, shows, intoxication, sex, music, dancing, art, and meditation. The issues discussed in this book have generally been overlooked by psychology, which is primarily concerned with the everyday business of living (self, anxiety, learning, etc.). This study will promote the understanding of the tremendous attractiveness of these modern diversions that are extremely absorbing and hypnotic.

About the Author(s)

Gene Quarrick lives in Morgantown, West Virginia.

Bibliographic Details

Gene Quarrick

Format: softcover (6×9)
Pages: 256
Bibliographic Info: notes, index
Copyright Date: 2012 [1989]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6714-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction: Psychological Diversion as Adult Play      1

1. Absorbed Attention      4
Degrees of Diversion      8
The Changing Relationship between Work and Play      13

2. Breaking Out of Everyday Consciousness      18
Invisible and Silent Recreation      18
Absorption as Hypnotic Involvement      20
Mental Relaxation      25
Suspending the Master Codes      27

3. The Enjoyments of Being Absorbed      33
Feeling a Dzyerent Identity      34
Spellbound in a New Reality      38
High-Quality Experience: Relaxed Arousal      43

4. Story Enjoyment      49
The Story Spell vs. the Illusion of Reality      50
The Fallacy of Vicarious Experience      57
Being One- With Fictional Characters      62

5. Ever More Absorbing Stories      66
Early Developments in Story Entertainment      66
The Movies      68
Television      74

6. Recreational Drugs      80
Getting High      81
Alcohol      84
Marijuana      88
The Psychedelics      94

7. The Recreational Value of People      98
Human Interaction as Personal Business      99
Sociable Recreation      104
Falling in Love      106

8. Sexual Experience      110
From Procreation to Recreation      110
Absorption and Erotic Fantasy      114

9. Motion and Emotion in Music      123
Music as Relaxed Arousal      124
From ’Stardust” to Rock: Mild to Extreme Diversion      127
Listening to Classical Music      132

10. Cultivated Diversions: Art      137
Appreciation vs. Enjoyment      138
Absorption as Psychic Distance and Empathy      143
Peak Experience through Aesthetic Absorption      147

11. Cultivated Diversions of Body and Mind      152
When Action Is Absorbing      153
Zen Sport: Letting the Body Take Over      157
Inspiration and the Play of Ideas      160

12. Meditation: The Cleansing of Awareness      170
The Limits of Lulling      170
Spiritual Effects through the Suspension of Perceptual Codes      177
Sensing the Supernatural      180

13. High-Processing Psychological States      185
The Four Major Orientations of the Organism      185
The Everyday Business of Living      188
Mental Distress      191
Ego-Involvement as a Basis for Distress and Mental Breakdown      195

14. Low-Processing Psychological States      201
Sleep and Dreams      203
A Declaration of Independence for the State of Absorption      209

Chapter Notes      215
Index      237

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Provocative work”—Exceptional Human Experience Network
  • “This fairly technical yet absorbing book looks at the scientific evidence linking absorption and hypnosis and shows how adults use this absorbed-hypnotic capability to bring diversion to their lives in the form of stories, music and intoxication, among others”—Science News