Daydreaming: Distraction or Necessity?

Daydreaming: Distraction or Necessity?

For all of us (including me) who feel we’re wasting time whenever we’re not busy doing something, consider this:

“Daydreaming does not enjoy tremendous prestige in our culture, which tends to regard it as unproductive thought. Writers perhaps appreciate its importance better than most, since a fair amount of what they call ‘work’ consists of little more than daydreaming edited.

“Yet anyone who reads for pleasure should prize it too, for what is reading a good book but a daydream at second hand? Unlike any other form of thought, daydreaming is its own reward. For regardless of the result (if any), the very process of daydreaming is pleasurable. And, I would guess, is probably a psychological necessity.

“For isn’t it in our daydreams that we acquire some sense of what we are about? Where we try on futures and practice our voices before committing ourselves to words or deeds? Daydreaming is where we go to cultivate the self, or, more likely, selves, out of the view and earshot of other people. Without its daydreams, the self is apt to shrink down to the size and shape of the estimation of others.”

– Michael Pollan

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