Janet H. Murray on “the active creation of belief”

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The pleasurable surrender of the mind to an imaginative world is often described, in Coleridge‘s phrase, as “the willing suspension of disbelief.” But this is too passive a formulation even for traditional media. When we enter a fictional world, we do not merely “suspend” a critical faculty; we also exercise a creative faculty. We do not suspend belief so much as we actively create belief. Because of our desire to experience immersion, we focus our attention on the enveloping world and we use our intelligence to reinforce rather than to question the reality of the experience.
Janet H. Murray in Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace, (The Free Press, 1997), p. 110.

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"The pleasurable surrender of the mind"
Janet H. Murray Posted on behalf of on Wednesday, January 6th, 2010 under Quotations.

One comment so far

  1. I really enjoyed this quote. Being a compulsive daydreamer, I am well aware of the energy and effort involved in creative thinking, and have never considered the entertainment of possibilities to be any less a function of critical thinking than entertaining doubts.

    I also love her uses of the words immersion and enveloping in that last sentence. Well put.

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