Optimal Experience: Psychological Studies of Flow in Consciousness

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Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Isabella Selega Csikszentmihalyi
Cambridge University Press, Jul 31, 1992 - Psychology
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What constitutes enjoyment of life? Optimal Experience offers a comprehensive survey of theoretical and empirical investigations of the 'flow' experience, a desirable or optimal state of consciousness that enhances a person's psychic state. The authors show the diverse contexts and circumstances in which flow is reported in different cultures, and describe its positive emotional impacts. They reflect on ways in which the ability to experience flow affects work satisfaction, academic success, and the overall quality of life

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I only read a few pages of the intro, but based on those pages, it seems this work, which was so critical of the question begging going on in reductionist accounts of human psychology, just continues the question begging. The most salient example is the deeming of complex thought and behavioural patterns - both of which we have an evolutionary-reductionist explanation for - as inadequately explained by a reductionist account of the human psyche. Yet, the writers of this work go on to explain (in just a few sentences) how the forces of evolution, based on the same evolutionary-reductionist approach upon which the study of human thought and behaviour is based, have freed the self from the forces of evolution. This, of course, is continuing to beg the question as to how it is that evolution and reductionist explanations accounts therein can free man to assess a given situation by the light of his freedom and reason. In other words, the authors cannot make claim, by using the evolutionary-reductionist approach, to have explained how man is an autonomous, self-governing creature. Indeed, the merely evolutionary-reductionist account of man necessarily encompasses the presupposition that man is not truly free. In the final analysis, if the authors wish to uphold an evolutionary account of free, rational human thought, they should not dare to think that they've overcome the dilemma of reductionist question begging.  


Varieties of the flow experience
Flow as a way of life
The measurement of flow in everyday life
Name index
Subject index

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