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心灵的归属(观察和解释)

(2009-06-15 23:05:04)
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杂谈

心灵的归属


来源:新东方英语(2005年1-2月号合刊)  添加日期:2005年1月10日
  
你是否注意到妈妈抱孩子时总习惯把孩子抱在自己的左侧,你是否意识到自己对心跳的节奏有某种莫名的熟悉和依附感?人类似乎在无意中总在找寻着那种心灵上的回归。

You Gotta Have a Heart 心灵的归属

By Desmond Morris 译/小宅

  It is worth looking at one or two aspects of the way a mother behaves towards her baby. The usual fondling, cuddling and cleaning require little comment, but the position in which she holds the baby against her body when resting is rather revealing. Careful American studies have disclosed the fact that 80 percent of mothers cradle their infants in their left arms, holding them against the left side of their bodies. If asked to explain the significance of this preference most people reply that it is obviously the result of the predominance of right-handedness in the population. By holding the babies in their left arms, the mothers keep their dominant arm free for manipulations. But a detailed analysis shows that this is not the case. True, there is a slight difference between right-handed and left-handed females, but not enough to provide an adequate explanation. It emerges that 83 percent of right-handed mothers hold the baby on the left side, but then so do 78 percent of left-handed mothers. In other words, only 22 percent of the left-handed mothers have their dominant hands free for actions. Clearly there must be some other, less obvious explanation.

  The only other clue comes from the fact that the heart is on the left side of the mother’s body. Could it be that the sound of her heartbeat is the vital factor? And in what way? Thinking along these lines it was argued that perhaps during its existence inside the body of the mother, the growing embryo becomes fixated ‘imprinted’ on the sound of the heart beat. If this is so, then the re-discovery of this familiar sound after birth might have a calming effect on the infant, especially as it has just been thrust into a strange and frighteningly new world outside. If this is so then the mother, either instinctively or by an unconscious series of trials and errors, would soon arrive at the discovery that her baby is more at peace if held on the left against her heart, than on the right.

  This may sound far-fetched, but tests have now been carried out which reveal that it is nevertheless the true explanation. Groups of new-born babies in a hospital nursery were exposed for a considerable time to the recorded sound of a heartbeat at a standard rate of 72 beats per minute. There were nine babies in each group and it was found that one or more of them was crying for 60 percent of the time when the sound was not switched on, but that this figure fell to only 38 percent when the heartbeat recording was thumping away. The heartbeat groups also showed a greater weight-gain than the others, although the amount of food taken was the same in both cases. Clearly the beatless groups were burning up a lot more energy as a result of the vigorous actions of their crying.

  Another test was done with slightly older infants at bedtime. In some groups the room was silent; in others recorded lullabies were played. In others a ticking metronome was operating at the heartbeat speed of 72 beats per minute. In still others the heartbeat recording itself was played. It was then checked to see which groups fell asleep more quickly. The heartbeat group dropped off in half the time it took for any of the other groups. This not only clinches the idea that the sound of the heart beating is a powerfully calming stimulus, but it also shows that the response is a highly specific one. The metronome imitation will not do — at least, not for young infants.
So it seems fairly certain that this is the explanation of the mother’s left-side approach to baby-holding. It is interesting that when 466 Madonna and child paintings (dating back over several hundred years) were analyzed for this feature, 373 of them showed the baby on the left breast. Here again the figure was at the 80 percent level. This contrasts with observations of females carrying parcels, where it was found that 50 percent carried them on the left and 50 percent on the right.

  What other possible results could this heartbeat imprinting have? It may, for example, explain why we insist on locating feelings of love in the heart rather than the head. As the song says: “You gotta have a heart!” It may also explain why mothers rock their babies to lull them to sleep. The rocking motion is carried on at about the same speed as the heartbeat, and once again it probably “reminds” the infants of the rhythmic sensations they became so familiar with inside the womb4), as the great heart of the mother pumped and thumped away above them.

  Nor does it stop there. Right into adult life the phenomenon seems to stay with us. We rock with anguish. We rock back and forth on our feet when we are in a state of conflict. The next time you see a lecturer or an after-dinner speaker swaying rhythmically from side to side, check his speed for heartbeat time. His discomfort at having to face an audience leads him to perform the most comforting movements his body can offer in the somewhat limited circumstances; and so he switches on the old familiar beat of the womb.
Wherever you find insecurity, you are liable to find the comforting heartbeat rhythm in one kind of disguise or another. It is no accident that most folk music and dancing has a syncopated rhythm. Here again the sounds and movements take the performers back to the safe world of the womb.

  关于母亲的育婴方式有两点值得关注。平时的爱抚、拥抱和洗沐都无需细述,而她休息时怀抱婴儿的位置却值得注意。美国的一些详细研究发现了如下事实:80%的母亲用左手抱婴儿,使其贴靠在自己身体的左侧。要是有人问及这一偏向的意义所在,大多数人会回答说,这显然是人们以右手为主的习惯导致的结果。母亲用左手抱孩子,便可腾出她们主要的手来从事各种操作。然而详细的分析表明,情况并非如此。当然,在习惯用右手以及习惯用左手的女性中确实会存在细微差别,然而这还不是充分的理由。调查显示,83%习惯用右手的母亲把婴儿抱在左侧,然而78%习惯用左手的母亲也这样做。换句话说,只有22%习惯用左手的母亲能腾出自己主要的手来操作种种事务。很清楚,这里一定还有着什么我们不知道的原因。

  还有另外的一条思路,而它的依据则是心脏在母亲身体的左侧的这个事实。她心脏跳动的声音会不会是问题的关键?如果是,又是怎样的呢?曾有人从这个角度来进行思考,其论据是发育中的胎儿在母体内时就已经对心跳声有了很深的印象,甚至到了难舍难分的程度。要是这样的话,婴儿在出生后——特别是当它刚被送出到一个全新的陌生世界时——重新发现这一熟悉的声音就可能具有安定效果。若真如此的话,那么母亲或是本能地,或是在一次次无意识的正反试验后,会很快地领悟到:孩于被抱在左侧靠近心脏处,要比抱在右侧更乖些。

  这听起来可能有些离奇,然而近来的多次试验表明,这一解释还是有分量的。在某医院的婴儿室里人们让几组新生儿听相当时间的每分钟为70次标准速度的心跳录音。每组9个婴儿,结果表明,在心跳声停放时,其中有一个或更多的婴儿60%的时间都在啼哭,而在心跳录音不停怦怦作响时,这个数字便下降到38%了。听心跳声的几组婴儿的体重也比其他组中婴儿的体重增长快。虽然这两组的食物摄入量是相同的,显而易见,不听心跳声的几组婴儿由于使劲啼哭而消耗了许多能量。

  另一项试验的对象是稍大一些的婴儿。试验在他们入睡时进行。一些组的卧室是平静无声的,一些组则播放着催眠曲的录音。在另一些组内,节拍器按每秒72次的心跳速度在滴滴嗒嗒地响着。还有一些组内则播放着真正的心跳录音,然后进行检查看哪一组的婴儿入睡得快。听心跳的组只用了其他各组所用的一半时间就睡着了。这一点不仅证实了心跳声具有强大安定作用的观点,并且还表明了反应是有高度针对性的。节拍器的模仿声不行——至少,对幼婴来说,不行。

  这样来说明母亲左侧怀抱婴儿的方式,看来就是相当可靠的了。有趣的是,人们为证实这个特证,对446幅圣母圣婴画像(可追溯到几百年以前)作了专门分析。结果有373幅图中的婴儿是在左胸。这个数字又达到80%的水平。与此形成对照的是妇女提包裹的情况,据观察发现,50%的妇女提在左方,而50%提在右方。

  这种对心跳声的依赖现象还可能产生什么其他的结果呢?比方说,它可以解释为什么我们总是执着地在心里而不是在头里寻找爱情。就像歌谣唱道:“你总得有颗心!”这也可解释为什么母亲要摇晃孩子来哄他们入睡。而摇晃动作的速度大致与心跳速度合拍,可能这又一次使婴儿“回忆”起那种节奏感——当他们还在子宫里时,母亲那颗强大的心脏在他们上方不停地收缩跳动、怦怦作响时,他们对此已是那么熟悉了。

  不仅如此,这现象似乎直到成年还和我们难舍难分。我们在极度痛苦时会摇晃身子。我们处在矛盾心理状态时会站着前后摇晃。下次你看到讲演者或宴会后发言者有节奏地左右摇晃时,请按心跳次数检查他的速度。他因为不得不面对听众而感到窘迫,便让他的身子做出处于某种受限制环境中所能采取的最能安定自己的动作,于是他又感应了昔日在子宫内时所熟悉的心跳声。

  无论在哪儿,当你觉得不安全时,就会很自然地去找寻这种以不同形式出现的让人感到慰藉的心跳节奏。大多数民间音乐舞蹈都有一种切分的节奏,这绝非偶然。在这里,这些声音和运动又把表演者重新带回到了安全的子宫世界。

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