Re: Drill, Dancin', Marchin' <debate>

Michael Cahill (MCBlueline@AOL.COM)
Thu, 15 Feb 1996 19:04:40 -0500

In a message dated 96-02-15 11:04:49 EST, rlh2@COLUMBIA.EDU (Ralph L
Holloway) writes (in connection with the neurology of dance and drill):

>Highly repetitive acts can become
>*addictive* and *enjoyable*

Hence the drill "buzz" that Warren and Mike talk about.

>and there is also the matter of *vicarious*
>experience in which one can internalize the emotional power of someone
>else's actions by internally mimicking and copying these sequences.

In drill, I think this process is reciprocal and continuous. If things go
right, the whole unit resonates and begins to operate "in the zone." Hence,
"successful marching takes more than just knowing the steps; it requires a
kind of group cohesiveness that has to be performed to be felt." (Salovesh).
Actually, it sometimes feels as if the team is a single organism. My guess
is that one of the reasons oblique moves are difficult to execute is that
they tend to break up the "synergy." Screw-ups dissolve the *illusion* that
the group is acting as one. Individuals come to the fore again. This shift
in perception feeds the laughter that follows blown commands.

>So too, I am convinced, can sheer cognitive activity, such as solving a
>mathematical puzzle or problem, or finishing a dissertation or erecting
>some hugh conceptual artefact, or even making a splendid stone tool hand
>axe, all these have two-way connections with outr emotional centers.

There's something important very important in this. But here's my question.
Is it the *repetition* or the *rhythm* that links up with the emotional
center? All rhythm is repetitive, but not all repetition is rhythmic. If
the link is through rhythm, then simply repeating or modelling cognitive
activities may provide no special lift (beyond its contribution to the
learning process itself).

This is not to deny the emotional satisfaction that comes with solving
puzzles. Obviously, this is a great stimulus to learning.

Or could there be "rhythms" to the kind of cognitive interactions (e.g.,
teacher-student) that you refer to above? If so, might they help explain why
some teachers seem to be more effective than others -- they don't miss a
beat? Or are teachers and learners "made" for one another -- sharing a
common cognitive rhythm?

Mike Cahill