Let’s Dance

In a letter to Oliver Sacks (unanswered, but oh well) I referred to fascinating artilcle he wrote in the New York Review of Books in 1990 – “Neurology and the Soul”.  I asked about his statement that “This evoluton of self…is made possible…by the strengthening of connections within neuronal groups in accordance with the individual’s experiences and needs and beliefs and desires.  This process “cannot arise, cannot even start, unless there is movement.  It is movement that makes possible all perceptual categorizations.”

Recent articles in the Boston Globe [1-13-08] and the WSJ [1-15-08] describe new research in “the emerging field of embodied cognition”.  Investigators do indeed believe that movement and gesticulation enhance cerebration.  “People think with their bodies, not just with their brains…arm movements can affect language comprehension…children are more likely to solve mathmatics problems if they are told to gesture with their hands…”

Makes me wonder first about related ramifications to couch (or computer) potatoism.  Would those most lethargic among us somehow be diminished by more than just the time lost?  Furthermore, would those at the other extreme be operating on some sort of an elevated plane?  One of a state of kinesthetic omniscience like, say, Gene Kelly in American in Paris, or Tiger Woods, or Mia Hamm dribbling through a line of Amazons and getting off a shot?

Finally,  what then is going on mind/bodywise with those in “flow” in situations of great personal risk – in battle or on a lonely tightrope high above the ground or a ski racer rounding a turn at 75mph?

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2 Responses to “Let’s Dance”

  1. Stephanie Says:

    I would like to have the URL of the article from the WSJ, please? If you could e-mail it to me, I would be very appreciative. Thanks.

  2. bgierke Says:

    Stephanie – Sorry, but I got it the old fashioned way – hard copy. It was a very short bit in the Jan 15 Wall Street Journal. I’m sure I still have it and could scan and send if you don’t have ready access. ‘preciate the interest.

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