Human Threads

In such a situation, there seems to be an actual binding of nervous systems, the unification of an audience by a veritable ‘neurogamy’ (Sacks, 2006, p. 2528). After the baby is born and seeks intimate communication of all motives with a parent, the affective system remains as the director of learning and appreciation of what is gained by new awareness. “The first generalized movements occur in week 8 (de Vries et al., 1984), but already in week 5 monoamine transmission pathways grow from the brainstem to animate the primordial cerebral hemispheres.

Organisms regulate the development of their lives by growing structures and processes from within their vitality, by autopoiesis that requires anticipation of adaptive functions. And they must develop and protect their abilities in response to environmental affordances and dangers, with consensuality (Maturana and Varela, 1980; Maturana et al., 1995). Infants are ready for human cultural invention and collaboration as newly hatched birds are ready for flying – within ‘the biology of love’ (Maturana and Varela, 1980; Maturana and Verden-Zoller, 2008).

All organisms reach out in time and space to make use of the ‘affordances’ for thought and action . With music we create memorable poetic events in signs that express in sound our experience of living together in the creating vitality of ‘the present moment’ . The anthropologist and ethnologist Claude Lévi-Strauss draws attention of linguists to the structured ‘raw’ emotive power of music (beyond what words may be ‘cooked’ to say).

Like the brain of any animal, the human brain grows to represent and regulate a body form in movement . And from even before birth, the self-formation of a personal self in the brain of the fetus is led by manifestations of movement. “Human languages are coaxed into the brain, initially by the melodic intonations of motherese by which emotional communication becomes the vehicle for propositional thought.” (Panksepp et al., 2012, p. 11). The prosody of the client’s voice sometimes sums-up the therapeutic change itself. In the example below of Stephen’s work a client is talking of an emerging ‘new me’ in contrast to an ‘old me.’2 The ‘old me’ was marked with ‘a lack of self-respect.’ ‘I blame myself when things go wrong, I believe I’m not working hard enough.’ The voice is drone-like, body hardly moving.

A comparable inhibitory effect of conventions of schooling has been recorded on the spontaneous expression of religious feelings and spirituality in the early years . These innate sources of human imagining in collaborative, moral ways give value and meaning to the later cultivation of advanced cultural ideas and skills (Valiente et al., 2012). Although blind, Maria knows the feelings of anticipated movement of her hand, and uses them to sense and share the human vitality dynamics in her mother’s voice. This kinematic sensibility was identified by Olga Maratos in her pioneering research in imitation as foundational for the ability of a young infant to reproduce another person’s expression seen or heard . Indeed, vocal perception, detecting the modulation of pitch and timing in an adult’s voice sounds, develops much faster than vocal production. The infant may be tracking sound with reference to the kinesics of the fastest and most complex gestural movements of her hands.