Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Monkey Mirror Neuron Experience

I don't know exactly what it should be called. I don't know what animals have mirror neurons. I don't even why we have mirror neurons. But I just like the alliterative phrase. And here's what it would be.

Well, actually, I think it was brought up in a comment over at Mr. Nulan's Liminal Perspective on Consensual Reality which got me to thinking. And danged if I can find the comment now, but it was basically an invitation through various electronic remediative devices to engage in a Tine Experience.

Although actually no. Vernor Vinge's alien race, the Tines, were these doglike creatures that collectively formed one individual. Kind of like the Borg, but without the technical implants. This was all biological, thoughts shared through sounds. Rather than a Tine experience, which would subsume the individual into something larger, this is more like, just a highly integrated form of Call of Duty multiplayer video game. Or so I suppose. I've never played it.

In any case, let's cut to my chase. Teaching how to work with a material, be it whether I'm glassblowing, or blacksmithing, or throwing pots, or carving wax, I know that the prime method is mimicry. The little monkey mirror neurons are firing so hard and fast in my student's heads you can practically here the static. This causes me to constantly practice the fundamentals so that the students will not immediately pick up bad habits. And I often repeat basic movements again and again until they get it.

How much easier, I wonder, would they get it if they could be me

If they could, through electronic sensory devices follow my gaze, feel the weights in my hands, judge the shifting of my posture, all the while I'm talking.

How would that work out?

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