“The prevalence of twilight-state thinking, our very susceptibility to the condition, argues for its evolutionary importance.  In extreme cases it results in pathology, derangements and delusions, persisting hallucinations and fanaticisms.  But it is also the driving force behind efforts to see things whole, to achieve a variety of syntheses from unified field theories in physics to blueprints for utopias in which people will live together in peace.  There must have been an enormous selective premium on the twilight state during prehistoric times.  If the pressures of the Upper Paleolithic demanded fervid belief and the following of leaders for survival’s sake, then individuals endowed with such qualities, with a capacity to fall readily into trances, would out-produce more resistant individuals.”  (J. E. Pfeiffer, The Creative Explosion (New York:  Harper & Row, 1982), p. 213.)

The power of art to inform culture receives relatively little attention in current times.  Any anthropologist studying aboriginal society finds art central to how a culture operates.  In that context, always, art and spirituality are closely tied.  Perhaps art feels separate from society today because religion has been contextualized as important, but not essential, to how we understand society.  So, art often finds itself ignored.

“Furthermore, drummers apparently know by intuition the most potent brain-stimulating rhythms.  According to Neher, the predominant drumming rhythm used in a number of African dances as well as in Haitian voodoo dances is a fast 7 to 9 beats per second—and that happens to be about the same rhythm produced naturally by “brain waves” in the auditory cortex itself, groups of neurons charging and discharging in electrical unison.  It seems that properly synchronized drumbeats drive the brain, force it into heightened activity.  They work in phase with brain waves, amplifying them the way timed pushes impart more and more momentum to a swing, creating hallucinations and intense feelings of dissociation.”  (Pfeiffer, 1982.)

This website describes a particular view of how human beings evolved.  I propose that art encouraged a particular ontological dynamic that compelled the growth of big brains because big brains more efficiently produce art.  We’re talking a sort of feedback loop, or what R. A. Fisher described as runaway sexual selection, whereby extravagant dancers chosen for their ability to evoke feelings of wonder resulting in copulation were (mostly) males that exhibited bigger brains and childlike features of cooperation and dependency, traits associated with neoteny.  Females kept picking big-brained, childlike dancers.  The women exhibiting the best  ability to form these evaluations, commanding and judgmental protohuman women, were making sure that they were the ones that got these men’s babies, and these women formed the other side of this feedback loop.  Big-brained dance performers got picked.  Big-brained dance evaluators did the picking.  Big brains evolved.

There are studies that conclude that the musically obsessed, composers and listeners with ability to note fine detail have bigger brains.  In addition, low testosterone males and high testosterone females seem to be the most talented composers.

“Creative musical behavior, musical intelligence, and spatial ability were investigated in relation to salivary testosterone (T).  In a cross-sectional study with 117 adults and in an 8-yr longitudinal study with 120 adolescents, composers, instrumentalists, and nonmusicians of both sexes were compared by analyses of variance.  Results indicate that an optimal T range may exist for the expression of creative musical behavior.  This range may be at the bottom of normal male T range and at the top of normal female T range.  In addition, musicians were found to attain significantly higher spatial test scores than nonmusicians, both in an 8-yr-period of adolescent development and in adulthood.”  (Hassler, M., “Creative Musical Behavior and Sex Hormones:  Musical Talent and Spatial Ability in the Two Sexes,” Psychoneuroendocrinology 17(1) (1992):55.)

“Musical composers, instrumentalists, and painters were compared with nonmusicians from a student and from a nonstudent population on testosterone levels in saliva.  This steroid served as a marker for physiological androgyny.  The ANOVA showed a significant group by sex interaction.  Male composers attained significantly lower mean testosterone values than male instrumentalists and male nonmusicians; female composers had significantly higher mean testosterone values than female instrumentalists and female nonmusicians.  Painters of both sexes did not differ significantly from controls.  Spatial ability was assessed in the five groups.  Significant differences on spatial test performance were not reflected in differences on salivary testosterone.  Our results showed that musical composers of both sexes were physiologically highly androgynous.  Creative musical behavior was associated with testosterone levels that minimized sex differences.”  (Hassler, M., “Testosterone and Artistic Talents,” Int J Neurosci 56(1-4) (1991):25.)

Not only is testosterone related to musical inclination, so is handedness.  The left-handed often are more musically inclined.

“It seems possible that an optimal testosterone range exists for the expression of creative musical behavior and that exceeding this optimal range in the course of puberty may contribute to a stop of musical production in boys.  Such optimal testosterone levels may be lower than male average in adult men and higher than female average in adult women (Hassler, 1991; Hassler & Nieschlag, 1989). …  Handedness proved to be an important variable with respect to musical talent in boys.  Male left-handers attained significantly higher mean test scores than male right-handers on Wing’s Standardized Tests of Musical Intelligence (Hassler & Birbaumer, 1988) at each stage of the study.”  (Hassler, M., and Nieschlag, E., “Salivary Testosterone and Creative Musical Behavior in Adolescent Males and Females,” Developmental Neuropsychology 7 (1991):504.)

According to the thesis promoted on this website, it is the random-handed (left-handed), the high testosterone females, the low testosterone males (matrifocal social structure) and the big-brained dancers that are the folks engaged in the runaway sexual selection feedback loop just described.  The neurological literature is filled with examples that support this thesis.

Nevertheless, it is a story.  A story is art.  Art often has spiritual connections.  The question is:  Is this a story that offers opportunities to transform?


This entry was posted on Friday, February 5th, 2010 at 8:51 am and is filed under Art, Biology, lefthanded, Ontogeny, Society, Unconscious. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
1 Comment so far

  1. low t san diego on November 14, 2018 5:02 am

    hi thanks for the post

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