085/2024 – “Change the Voices In Your Head, Make Them Like You Instead”

Lyrics: “Fuckin’ Perfect” – P!NK, 2010

I was supposed to be at the local Greens meeting tonight, but I’m skipping it this time. Partially because I’m feeling a bit icky – got my period – and also because I’m just not in the mood for the endless discussions we seem to go through these days. Plus, I’ll attend a Green party workshop with some of my fellow local Greens tomorrow and I feel like that’s my quota of Green party engagement fulfilled this week. I also need to get a few night with enough hours of sleep at the start of the week, because I know I won’t sleep much mid-week.

View from the balcony onto a theatre stage, P!NK tribute show, dancers and band, pink confetti in the air
P!INK Tribute show

Last week I went to see a P!NK tribute show at the local theatre and it was lots of fun. Going in I was aware that I don’t know all that many songs of her. I mean, I know the hits of course and a few more, but there were also a few which felt new to me. When I looked up how long ago she had her first big hit, I felt so old. But I guess, with nearing 50 (next year) that’s just the way it is. Anyway, it was fun to sing and dance along and I’ve downloaded some more of her music to listen to on the next long car drives. For some reason I didn’t get around to catching up with her music on on Sunday as I had planned originally.

Sunday was spent in equal parts with mindless distractions (from what, you might ask? I have no idea what I’m avoiding with that), but also with some helpful introspection. My mental state feels like a seesaw at the moment. At times I’m focused and motivated and then again I’m not. Other times I feel like I’ve figured things out and then again I’m feeling overwhelmed with life. All in all I’m glad that I’ve learned by now that either way it’s fine. That I’m doing fine the way I am right now. No pressure to be / do better. Unless I want to. Which I do. Sometimes.

When I started a draft of this post on Sunday I had actually planned to give you an insight into the various newsletters I’ve subscribed to in order to get a variety of perspectives on news and politics and global and social issues. But I then spent way too much time catching up with the various news articles that day and in the end couldn’t be bothered to compile a comprehensive list of my sources. Next weekend, maybe.

But I’d still like to share one – not news article – but “Dlf nova Hörsaal” science podcast episode I listened to on the weekend, which blew my mind. It’s in German, so maybe not available to all of you, but if you speak the language and are interested, I’ll share the link below.

A lecturer of evolutionary anthropology talked about spatial and social cognition in non-human great apes and children and how different cultures and thus languages have different words and a whole different way of spatial awareness. He started with the simple test how easy we can agree on what something looks like, because we all have the same understanding of colours (blue is blue to everyone). But how difficult it is for us to describe smells or tastes and how different we experience and describe smells. And how other languages have much more words for different tastes and smells and so much more.

What blew my mind then was his report on how people in other parts of the world have different spatial cognition. These days the majority of people think that “left and right” are the proper terms to talk about the space around us. But that’s not the case everywhere in the world and it hasn’t been the case all through history of mankind. From what I took away from his studies using absolute terms like “north and south” to navigate the world around us is the more natural way than to use directional terms like “left and right”. Great apes think in absolute ways, but also small children and like I said some cultures elsewhere still do. According to him more languages in the world in fact use absolute terms than directional ones. It’s just that those languages are going extinct and that the majority of people in the world by now grow up in cultures that use directional terms like left and right. According to him that also explains why children only learn to use those terms correctly after a certain age and that even adults sometimes have problems with that. It’s not natural!

I thought that was super fascinating. NerdAlert? Maybe!

Dlf Nova Hörsaal: Kognitionsforschung: Über den Zusammenhang von Sprache und Denken

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