Our Sweetest Hours

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 x 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 Efects 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