Happy processions continue at graduation

05 May 2017 | Story Chido Mbambe. Photos Robyn Walker.
Guest speaker, Prof Mark Solms is a psychoanalyst and professor in neuropsychology. He is the chair of neuropsychology at UCT and president of the South African Psychoanalytical Association.
Guest speaker, Prof Mark Solms is a psychoanalyst and professor in neuropsychology. He is the chair of neuropsychology at UCT and president of the South African Psychoanalytical Association.

Over 700 students were capped at the three graduation ceremonies held on Thursday, 4 May. After the academic procession's entry into Jameson Hall, graduands and the audience were treated to a musical item from the South African College of Music.

First in line were graduands from the Faculty of Commerce, which hosted the first two of the day's three ceremonies. The faculty's Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting, BCom (Hons) Accounting and Advanced Diploma in Accounting students drew a ceremonial close to their academic journey.

The day's proceedings were wrapped up at the Faculty of Humanities' evening ceremony where Professor Mark Solms from the Department of Psychology spoke on the importance of play.

Happy processions continue at graduation
Newly capped graduands collect their certificate and graduation medals.

“Biologically speaking, it is easy to see why there is an instinct to copulate, and to attach to caregivers, and to attack intruders, and to flee from predators; but why is there an instinct to play?” said Solms.

He explained that although play is fun, the majority of play episodes end in tears.

“We behavioural neuroscientists have observed that this ending in tears is lawfully regulated, by something that we call the 60/40 rule,” he said.

The 60/40 rule states that the submissive animal, when playing, will only continue to play if it has a turn to be the dominant one at least 40% of the time. Otherwise it won't play anymore because it is no longer fun.

He gave examples of dominance hierarchy in typical games such as cops and robbers.

“Actually, play is a nasty old business. It is about the establishment of dominance hierarchies; the establishment of a pecking order. Think back to your own childhood: play was a very serious affair. “Am I in or out? Where do I fit in the group? Am I the top dog or the nerd?”

Solms says this is what the 60/40 rule is about.

“If, while playing 'cops and robbers', you lock your little brother up and throw away the key, that is not a game. That is real. It is not 60/40; it is 100/0. The same applies to all games. 'Doctor-doctor' is a game until it becomes sexual abuse. Then it is deadly serious. Then a boundary has been crossed.”

He explained how play is about finding limits. In order to maintain the fun and keep the game going, you have to take into account the needs and wants of your playmate.

“In fact, we believe that play is the mechanism whereby people and animals learn to take account of the feelings of others,” explains Solms. “The purpose of play is to establish social hierarchies that work. That is, where there is something in it for everyone.”

“Play is a vehicle for social mobility … People who cannot play are therefore in real trouble. Usually they are bullies, or they are the victims of bullies; too traumatised to play ... Bullies get to be top dog 100% of the time. But nobody wants to play with bullies. They have all the toys, but no playmates. There is no fun in that,” he said.

Solms concluded, “I believe there are some important lessons for society as a whole. That is why I wanted to tell you about them.”

Happy processions continue at graduation
Graduands capture their happy moment.

UCT has more graduation ceremonies lined up for the week, at 10:00 and 15:00 on Friday, 5 May for the faculties of Health Sciences, Law and Humanities, while the Faculty of Commerce will round things off with three ceremonies on Saturday, 6 May.

See pictures from social media:

Watch the recorded ceremonies:

Faculty of Commerce: PGDA, BCom Hons (Accounting), Adv Dip Accounting, 4 May at 09:00

Faculty of Commerce: Adv Dip Business Project Management, 4 May at 14:00

Faculty of Humanities: BA, BMus, BAFA, BSW, all UG diplomas, BMus Hons, 4 May at 18:00

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