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  • Writer's pictureKristin Lyman

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

"In a complex society, many powerful groups are involved in socializing, sometimes to seemingly contradictory goals. On the one hand, official institutions like schools, churches, and banks try to turn us into responsible citizens willing to work hard and save. On the other hand, we are constantly cajoled by merchants, manufacturers, and advertisers to spend our earnings on products that will produce the most profits for them. And, finally, the underground system of forbidden pleasures run by gamblers, pimps, and drug dealers, which is dialectically* linked to the official institutions, promises its own rewards of easy dissipation-provided we pay. The messages are very different, but their outcome is essentially the same: they make us dependent on a social system that exploits our energies for its own purposes.", pg. 19, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

*dialectically-refers originally to dialogue between people holding different points of view about a subject but wishing to arrive at the truth through reasoned argument

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