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Posted on Apr 1, 2007 in zeitgeist | 0 comments

Primeval Clapping

Primeval Clapping


Have you ever written or typed a word and, despite it being something you have done many times, it just doesn’t look right? So, you ask some “does that right?” and they look at you in a funny way.
On occassions, I think we all have moments when we look at commonplace things and they suddenly leap out as being absurd or stripped-down to what they really are. I even had a brief moment once when I was watching football and it looked like 22 blokes running about kicking a ball to no great purpose. After all, why is the space inside the goal different from any other?Thankfully, that on didn’t last long.

One of the most profound of these moments I ever had was related to clapping. Clapping is an extremely commonplace thing. Humans tend to do it for pretty much any reason (especially if they are in a game show audience). It is a sign of welcome/adulation/happiness and generally speaking a positive thing in all but its slow form.

But have you ever had a moment when you have seen people clapping and it looks like some form of mass hysteria when a bunch of people are just sitting/standing banging their hand together to make a noise? It seems to me to be an enormously primeval thing. A throwback to a more animal time, perhaps pre-speech?

As usual, I have no idea on the science of this, doubtless it has been researched and countless papers written, but I can’t think of any other similar habits that we have as humans that are so basic (football supporting aside). Maybe I’ll try and find the science…maybe not.

Clapping is just plain odd. The next time you do it, just stop for a second and ask yourself “What the hell am I doing?”

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