If aliens landed and wanted to communicate with us, what kind of team would you assemble and how would you go about communicating with them? What would you do to try to understand them or help them understand us as a species?
After watching one of my favorite movies, Arrival, a colleague of mine pointed out a scene. I only recently realized how important that scene was.
It’s a scene where an army colonel (Forest Whitaker) asks the linguist (Amy Adams) why she’s wasting time on trying to teach and decipher basic language ‘building blocks’ with the aliens. She answers ‘kangaroo’. She tells a story about an explorer meeting indigenous people and he points to an animal that hops around with babies in its pouch and the local people say ‘kangaroo’. It turns out that ‘kangaroo’ really means ‘ i don't understand’. She later admits the story isn’t true - but it still proves her point: that we need to go back to basics about the ‘building blocks’ of how we understand each other so that we can avoid misunderstandings.
For me, these building blocks are about our socio-biological signals.
We sometimes get too caught up in words, ideas, opinions. These are all ‘concepts’... and they depend so much on our history and what we’ve learned.
But the basic signals of human interaction that we use to express love and attachment in our voice, in our eyes, in our movements are aspects of our nervous system that we actually have in common with mammals. These mechanisms in us are much more sophisticated.. But they are deeply embedded in all humans, as a species.
Our first experiences in the world are pre-verbal, non-verbal, sensory and visceral. As we grow, we can get better at taking those non-verbal, sensory and visceral experiences and trying to convey them as words.. The better we get at that, the more we feel like we’re saying what we want to say.
What signals are you sending out - through your words and also through the frequencies and signals of your voice, face, body and hands that transcend those words?
On June 8th, i’ll post another video about brain activity related to this - and how suppressing or repressing those signals seems to be connected to the health of our ‘social nervous system’.
Thankful for people I respect who point out things for me to notice that improve my life!
#backtobasics #socialnervousystem #letsworktogethertomakehumansbetter #colleaguesinconversation #stephenporges #polyvagaltheory
Frewen, P. et al (2008). Clinical and Neural Correlates of Alexithymia in Postraumatic Stress Disorder, Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 117 (2008) 171-181
Liebenthal E. et al. (2016). The Language, Ton and Prosody of Emotions: Neural Substrates and Dynamics of Spoken-Word Emotion Perception, Frontiers in Neuroscience
Porges, S (1995) Orienting in a defensive world: Mammalian modifications of our evolutionary heritage. A Polyvagal Theory. Psychophysiology, 32 (1995), 301-21.
Porges (2001). The polyvagal theory: phylogenetic substrates of a social nervous system, International Journal of Psychophysiology, 42 (2001), 123-146