In our day-to-day lives, we are always trying to manipulate or otherwise act on our surroundings, whether it’s by turning a car’s steering wheel or frying an egg or clicking on a link at a website. But when we open a book, our expectations and our attitudes change drastically. Because we understand that "we cannot or will not change the work of art by our actions," we are relieved of our desire to exert an influence over objects and people and hence are able to "disengage our [cognitive] systems for initiating actions." ... It is only when we leave behind the incessant busyness of our lives in society that we open ourselves to literature’s transformative emotional power.This explains that wonderful feeling of losing yourself in a book: you just don't feel the need to control things. Relinquishing that power can be a sweet freedom.
Saturday, January 7, 2012
This is Your Mind on Books
Nicholas Carr notes how our brains function when reading: