Revery and Attention – “Every moment we expect the spell to break . . .”

“Voici des fruits, des fleurs, de feuilles, et des branches . . . “

Claude Debussy–Ariettes Oubliees
(lyrics by Paul Verlaine)

“C’est L’Exstace”

Gabriel Faure–Melodies

“Apres un Reve”

“This curious state of inhibition can at least for a few moments be produced at will by fixing the eye on vacancy. . . . Monotonous mechanical activities that end by being automatically carried on tend to produce it. . . . The eyes are fixed on vacancy, the sounds of the world melt into confused unity, the attention becomes dispersed so that the whole body is felt, as it were, at once, and the foreground of consciousness is filled, if by anything, by a sort of solemn sense of surrender to the empty passing of time. In the dim background of our mind we know what we ought to be doing: getting up, dressing ourselves, answering the person who has spoken to us. . . . But somehow we cannot start. Every moment we expect the spell to break, for we know no reason why it should continue. But it does continue, pulse after pulse, and we float with it.”

–William James, Principles of Psychology, 1878

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