The Null Device


Evolutionary psychologists look at how music could possibly have come about:

Since music draws on so many of the brain's faculties, it vouches for the health of the organ as a whole. And since music in ancient cultures seems often to have been linked with dancing, a good fitness indicator for the rest of the body, anyone who could sing and dance well was advertising the general excellence of their mental and physical genes to a potential mate.

Note: this applies to music performance, not music composition. Jimi Hendrix got laid like, well, a rock star, and if you're in a band you may be in with a chance. Sitting at your computer composing techno tunes is not a sign of Darwinian fitness, and unlikely to pull 'em in. As for DJing, the jury's still out.

Group singing, or chorusing, may have been an intermediate step in this process, he suggests. He has preliminary evidence that singing in church produces endorphins, a class of brain hormone thought to be important in social bonding, he said.

(I've heard it claimed in NLP circles that singing together puts one into a receptive state by the fact that one is, by necessity, breathing in synchronisation with everybody else in the church (including the celebrant of the service) and thus is more receptive to their beliefs; hence, it works as a sort of hypnotic persuasion technique.)

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In London, two Conservative Party aides, both of whom worked for front-bench Tory spokesmen, have been arrested for beating up a gay policy adviser, in what has been described as a "homophobic meditated attack". Expect the usual platitudes about how this was an isolated incident by two bad apples, and is in no way indicative of deep veins of intolerance and hatred within the Tory Party's culture or a logical conclusion of the "family values" the Tories spout off about every so often.

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