Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Dance of life

This blog was inspired by two things this morning - I received a lovely email message from Andrew Metaxis, the Viola player I met on Sunday, which made me think of music and also I had read to page 52 of The Working Brain: An introduction to Neuropsychology by A.R. Luria, England, Penguin, 1984 (the book I found at the Op shop yesterday) and appreciated his term 'kinetic melody', a term that refers to the fluidity of human movement, however, for me the term has musical connotions, suggesting that everyday actions appear choreographed so smoothly by the brain that we perform as if in an exquisite dance. Is this the dance of life - beautiful when our bodies are unaffected by injury or disease and fragmented in a kinetic stutter when we are less than functional. I have a smooth and carefree walk, at least part of the way up the hill to catch my tram. However, before I reach the top my right hip, already affected by osteo-arthritis affects my movements and I slow down. My body telling my brain (or, is it the other way around?) to reorganise, reorientate and punctuate in such a way that I may continue to walk without pain. As much as bodily movements are automatic, I tend to agree with Paul Ricoeur that it is our lived bodies that are a more pressing concern upon us day by day, rather than the functional aspects of the brain. Since the whole body (including brain) is involved in our total functioning, no one particular part may be perceived as having one single role in determing our actions or behavior. Brain/body is I think always going to be, at least for me, a total symphony, each instrument vital in the production of the overall sound. Of course, we are left again with the image of the conductor, without who the orchestra would be playing bereft of direction and may produce music less than desirable to the ear. Is the human brain this conductor bringing all the functional parts together in musical harmony, or is the whole body the conductor? The questions continue.

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