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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 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.