The Consciousness of Dreaming, Music and the World

Non-Fiction - Cultural
288 Pages
Reviewed on 04/28/2017
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite

Entrancement: The Consciousness of Dreaming, Music and the World by Ruth Finnegan is a book that explores dreams and many other forms of consciousness, and how these interact with our dreams. In this diverse and amazingly well-crafted book, Ruth Finnegan is talking about states of consciousness, what they are, how they work and how they affect our bodies, minds and our conscious and unconscious selves. Her study of shared consciousness, death and dreams kept me riveted, not just because of how well-thought out her study was, but because it is so very easy to understand.

This is largely because Ruth Finnegan wrote it to be understood and appreciated rather than to impress someone. Just by reading this book, you can tell that it was written so that people can gain knowledge about dreams and consciousness and understand. I really appreciated the fact that Finnegan didn’t just talk about this, but she took the time to research and delve into more modern research and areas of study, including neuroscience, literature, music and psychology.

Her words are simple yet powerful; they click with you. You don’t have to read every line twice to be able to understand what she means. This book will be a great help for the student who needs some reference material. And since Ruth Finnegan covers plenty of subjects, this book will become a massive aid in getting their theories right. I had no idea dreams could interfere with and affect our consciousness so much. This is really very interesting and I absolutely love Ruth Finnegan's writing. Finnegan is one of those diverse writers who can write absolutely everything and anything and make it interesting for her readers.

Sefina Hawke

Entrancement (The Consciousness of Dreaming, Music and the World) by Ruth Finnegan is a non-fiction mix of culture and the social sciences text book. This is a book that would appeal most an audience of young adult and adults with an interest in psychology, sociology, and/or cognitive science. This book explores the field of dreaming through the lens of multiple social sciences. The book is designed to teach about the interaction of dreams with other forms of consciousness like death and shared consciousness. In the author’s own words, the book uses a “humanistic, evidence-based context” to engage in the fields of anthropology, ethno-musicology, sociology, psychology, parapsychology, and cognitive science.

As a psychology student, I felt drawn to Entrancement by Ruth Finnegan and the concepts it explores within its pages. I personally like the way that Ruth Finnegan backed up all of the findings presented in the book with real evidence; this is not a book of opinion, but of fact. I liked the fact that this did not read as a traditional textbook would, and instead Finnegan incorporated pieces of her own life and feelings in the book. For instance, in chapter one there is a section titled “Me” where she shares some of her life with the reader, such as the fact that she is a retired academic. I liked that as I continued to read, I began to learn more and more not just about the consciousness of dreaming, but also about the author’s own experiences. This blend of fact and the author’s own experiences is what truly kept the book interesting for me. Overall, I found this book to be a very captivating read and I could see myself using some of the knowledge I gained in my future psychology papers!

Mamta Madhavan

Dreams, forms of consciousness, death experience, and telepathy are topics that fascinate the human mind. In Entrancement: The Consciousness of Dreaming, Music and the World, Ruth Finnegan handles the topics of imagination, consciousness and the brain at the interface between basic and clinical neuroscience, sociology, musicology, psychology, parapsychology, cognitive studies, anthropology and literature which are often taken lightly. With examples and techniques, the book takes readers into an interesting realm of music, art, dreams, imagination, and consciousness, and how they work and their influence on our body, mind, and spirit.

The author speaks about a topic that is fascinating and one that will make readers consider consciousness and dreaming from a different perspective. Different types of dreams like telepathic dreams, prophetic dreams, recurring dreams, death dreams, their cultural stigma, and symbolism all make for interesting reading, making us look at the invisible dimensions of human consciousness, dreams and life in general. The author does an excellent job handling an interesting concept and all the stories, examples, techniques, and suggestions point towards spirituality, psychic phenomena, and a scientific and psychological realm that was always questioned and looked at with curiosity.

I enjoyed reading this book as the topics spoken about have always held my interest and they have always made me look at the various dimensions of life that remain hidden from our view. For all those who dream and want to interpret them, this book will hold their interest as it has views from a range of writers coming from diverse backgrounds, making the topic accessible and stimulating.

Gisela Dixon

Entrancement: The Consciousness of Dreaming, Music and the World by Ruth Finnegan is an exploratory book that encourages delving into metaphysical questions about the universe as a whole. Entrancement is divided into chapters that combine poetry, prose, as well as numerous extracts from various sources on the topics discussed. Some of the subjects covered in this way are what is meant by collective unconscious, the meaning of dreams, death and near death experiences or NDE, music in its various forms such as chanting and its effects, psychedelic drugs, and how it all connects to one another and what it all means. These subjects touch upon several fields including sociology, anthropology, psychology, music, paranormal phenomena, cognitive studies, etc.

Entrancement: The Consciousness of Dreaming, Music and the World by Ruth Finnegan is a comprehensive book that touches upon various fields, but I thought the flow and presentation could have been better. Because of its writing style of mixing references and anecdotes from various sources, it is difficult to form any conclusions and indeed, no conclusions are presented in this book at all. There is also little to no explanation provided besides quoting paragraphs from various sources. That being said, the book is meant to be self-exploratory so I am sure it can serve as a beginning point for someone interested in these subjects. Also, it does cover a broad range of subjects and the references provided can be useful for further reading as well. For this reason, I would recommend it.

Christian Sia

Entrancement: The Consciousness of Dreaming, Music and the World by Ruth Finnegan is an insightful, unique look at a reality that is so common yet so rarely considered scientifically. Ruth Finnegan brings into this spellbinding, informative, and innovative work her expertise as an anthropologist and explores the power of dreaming and its impact on human consciousness, lucidly portraying the place that dreaming occupies in other social sciences.

From the very beginning of the book, the reader is left in no doubt that the author knows what she is talking about and that she feels very comfortable in this field, because she reminds readers of great dreamers who have marked the history of humanity with their creative genius and created a culture and an art that has stood the test of time. Milton who was blind dreamed his “Paradise Lost,” Joan of Arc was a visionary who inspired Christians and the history of France, and Mark Twain was equally inspired by dreams. So what has dreaming got to do with humanity, human culture, and history?

In this book, readers will find a surprising answer to the above question and will understand how dreams affect our consciousness and the place of dreams in human culture. Ruth Finnegan articulates from different perspectives, touching on dreams and aspects of anthropology, sociology, spirituality and music, and a lot more. The writing is impeccable, and I must say that one needs to sit up while reading this serious work. She weaves her personal stories, anecdotes, and historical facts into the story, giving it an authority that is compelling and undeniable. This is a well-researched and masterfully written work on dreaming and consciousness. Entrancement: The Consciousness of Dreaming, Music and the World will change the way you think about dreams and, perhaps, the way you dream.