Pleistocene, New York, Chicago discussed on Science Talk

Science Talk


Most people have been thinking about the imagination as like ideas in your head like you were saying, you know, if you can cocked some wonderful scenario in your mind's eye, your imaginative. But really, if you think about the. Aleutian of imagination. It must have been that we were doing our first improvisational and imaginative work with the body. It would have been before language. It would have been before concepts. And so this leads you to think about dance, for example. And one of our earliest maybe artistic creations might have been tribal dancing. A lot of times people think about the cave paintings of the upper paleolithic and that's great. But that's, you know, maybe forty fifty thousand years ago. Dancing probably goes back way before that, possibly even to the place early Pleistocene periods. So that could be two million. We'll let the the sirens coming. This is an issue we deal with in New York a lot. When. Chicago, it's exactly and it's okay. So so two million years ago we're talking pre homo sapiens. Yeah, a other homo or even maybe a different genus, but still that that impulse, the dancing, the imagination, the improvisation, is there already. Yeah. I think that if you look at homo erectus for example, you've got a social creature that was probably similar to early homo sapiens in terms of small band families, nuclear families, small band groups, thirty fifty people, and there were ways in which they would have demonstrated to their competitors that they were a group to be reckoned with. And we think anthropologist suggested dance originally was a way of demonstrating to your opponents, hey, together, you know, this group can get you can do these moves together. We. West side story. Exactly. That's right because you can't. You're not just saying, we're, we're a good fighting team. You're showing them that you can be together on the step. Now how did that stuff you evolve at head to be like certain kind of movements, and then you're improvising and adding sequences, you know, within sequences and this I think is exciting because human beings can do this thing that we call in train -ment, which is if I start clapping my hands together, you know like this that you can quickly fall in with me and we can have a whole room clapping to some, you know, blues or soul music. But other animals can't do this and they're very bad at it. And it suggests that there may be sort of brain prerequisites to this kind of all getting together and synchronizing and simulating each other. And I think the origins of imagination go back into that kind of embodied simulation system. I can copy what you're doing. You can copy what I'm doing. Other. Mammals can do that too. But once you start adding things like social complexity and language, now the simulation start getting better and better. So even the play among kids gets much more sophisticated than the kind of play the you get in animals in in our closest relatives in primates who get rough and tumble play, and you know, you juveniles will wrestling charter. But once you get a simple system like language in, once you get kind of a long safe childhood, like you have in homo sapiens. Now you get people, you know, playing cops and robbers in, you know, the Cowboys and Indians in this kind of stuff. Well, early, you know, rarely, Elizabeth versions. Yeah. Yeah. You don't play probably don't play cops and robbers. Roberson countless and India's anymore and Pelley Olympic version, of course, right for different. I've, I think I've had a couple of experiences usually playing sports where I physically did something that I didn't know I knew how to do. Yeah. And I think sports and music. And what else is where you're gonna find this kind of thing. Those are great examples, sports and music. So when you improvise in music or in sports or really like we're doing now in forming sentences were using the sort of rules of grammar and semantics and syntax. But we've appropriated those rules into this kind of embodied cognition. So I don't have to like think, am I apply the rule correctly? When I say this to you, I just do it through practice and habituation, and this is true in jazz. Improvisation to what you've done is you've mastered certain scales and certain chords, and it's true in sports as well. But then you have to apply them in real time..

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