irrational beguiling belonging
June 13, 2015, 9:17 pm
Filed under: departure lounge, the sweet life, unseen world | Tags: , ,

Habits persist and cluster and conform us to shared dull, thoughtless behavior: mimicry in speech, going along with the mob.

Drums, dancing and music induce a primodial state outside of habit that is irrational, pleasurable and relational.

Perceived behavior gives a leg up to more of the same in the observer, who becomes a participant. Yawning and laughter are contagious, fashions are slavishly obeyed, catch phrases permeate everyday speech, and the mob drags along its unthinking but strangely comforted individual mobsters. The rhythm of the drum drowns out independent judgment and induces a reversion to the primordial state. To cite [Walter J.] Freeman . . . “to dance is to engage in rhythmic movements that invite corresponding movements from others.” Dancers synchronize, reciprocate, or alternate – all of which are forms of entrainment open to the infant. Entraining with others into a shared rhythm – marching, chanting, dancing – may trigger a primitive sense of irrational and beguiling belonging, and a shared mindset. Music elaborates this effect, and by virtue of its diverse complexity, averts habituation. Even rhythmic activity confined to oneself – rocking, spinning, finger tapping, leg shaking – may dearouse and confer a pleasing sense of calm (Kinsbourne 1980).

The Imitative Mind: Development, Evolution and Brain Bases, Marcel Kinsbourne


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