Our Movement Signatures

Think of trying to impersonate your friends and family, or someone famous.  Even if you’re trying only to mimic their voice you’ll move or hold your body in a different way than your own.  Or, imagine seeing a friend walking toward you from so far away that you can’t see her face.  You know it’s her because of her walk.  In a stroke of a brush a painter can capture the subtleties of how a specific person orients themselves to gravity.  Most of us have been developing our ways of moving since we were little.  It is because our individual movement patterns are so deeply ingrained that our movements become our signature.    Likewise, together we form cultural signatures.

Be it the discovery of fire or the manufacturing of the keyboard, our ‘movement signatures’ have evolved throughout the ages with the advent of new technologies.  Today we continue to witness the introduction of totally new movements, and watch them being integrated into our ‘movement canon’ at record speed, beginning with the youngest of us.  Our developmental movements literally shape the pathways of our nervous systems and our nervous systems are how we perceive the world; when new movements are introduced, new perspectives are too.  I watched a child recently trying to ‘swipe’ a book to make it open, just as he knows to do when playing on an Ipad.   This generation that is learning how to walk right now literally has a different shaped nervous system than you and I.  That has huge implications for the world at large, especially the future world.

I am not advocating at the moment for or against any specific activities, but I am advocating for movement that respects our bodies designs.   No matter how much our movement changes over centuries, the greatest force we interact with remains gravity.  When we ignore this fact, symptoms often occur.  If we are seeing ailments in our physical bodies–and all emotions, thoughts and feelings have a physical component–we ought not be surprised to see ailments in our culture.   We have agency in how we move and in designing technology which informs our movements.  Let’s keep our awareness astute as new products and their associated movements become commonplace in the youngest of us.