Saturday, November 10, 2007

Sunday Scribblings - Left & Right

Do you have a favourite? Left or right?

This week's prompt has to do with everything left & right. We can choose, as there is a lot to be said about these two.

For starters, how did we come up with these words and these concepts? They are useful, no doubt, but they could be more precise. We could say: it's there on 30º starting from your head. I am also fond of the orientations based on the hours of the clock in the english language. Saying, it's there at 4 o'clock is a very fine tool. Amazingly enough we don't use this terminology in portuguese, so we have to manage with only four directions: left, right, front, back. I'm actually quite perplexed at how we orientate ourselves so well with these simple terms.

"Left" is a concept strongly afflicted in most languages. For instance, sinistra (left) in Italian is one of the most obvious negative connotations of the word, as it also means obscure things, just like sinister. On the other hand, 'right' is a word that in many languages means 'how it should be', 'correct', 'straight'. The left of our bodies is where our heart is at, a part of the body that is commanded by the right side of the brain, the one with all the feelings. Is that a reason to consider the 'left' weak?

The other day we tried to establish which side of the brain was more dominant in us with that rotating doll. I also remember something I read a while ago about the way we fold our hands together. When we intertwine our fingers there's one that stays on top - which is it? I read in the BBC website that is it thought that this reveals our brain-side dominance - if it's the right finger, we're governed by our left, logical side; if it's the left finger, we're ruled by the right side. I found an article on this subject here. This hypothesis is not confirmed, maybe we fold the hands as the result of a motor habit. Anyway, my left finger is on top and I'm not very logical, so take your pick.

I'm right-handed. But I have more strength in my left arm. Rafael Nadal plays tennis with his left arm, even though he's right-handed. There's another player that does exactly the opposite but I can't remember who he is. Oh, it's Moya! (Thanks Google!) So you see, it doesn't really mean anything...we can adapt and be happy whatever our dominant side is ;)

You want to talk about politics, I suppose. No, you don't. I wonder if our political orientation isn't as genetic as our hands. Well, that would be silly. It is something we acquire with our education, isn't it? But is it something that is rationalized and pondered? Why do I find myself mocking certain politicians and smiling at others (well, this might be an exaggeration, I don't smile at politicians!)? People don't fall for the politicians' ideas, they fall for the parties they represent, because parties are symbols and we humans are suckers for symbols.

And the award for best usage of the words left and right goes to: Bon Jovi! For that extremely inspired B-side CD title: This Left Feels Right (I've never laughed so much in my life! I still do whenever I think about this. It's the most hilarious title ever.)


Just Jen said...

It took me awhile to figure out your comments...LOL
Pretty good take on this week's prompt. I never knew that about the languages. I like learning something new!
Thanks for swinging my blog, I laughed when I read whole brain and whole grain, I think that's a right brain thing? hehe
As for the maths, sure, when it's column addition or subtraction, you start at the right and work your way over....LOL
Oh, one more thing, my right index is over but I'm pretty sure I'm more right brained. What does it mean if your hemodextris? (spelling?)LOL

Roam2Rome said...

Hi There!

Ah, immediately the left image caught my eye!

Loved your post, so in depth!

Well, the left feels right to me!

tumblewords said...

Nice read! Great take on the prompt!

chrispito said...

ooh I love that picture on the right, it makes me want to go out and draw, this reminds me, I have work to do ha ha.
Devil this is such a fine topic; I think about the Left and Right a lot these days as I have chronic pain on the left side of my body--too analytical, perhaps? I try to draw my consciousness to it, to FEEL the world with my left, orient myself in certain ways physically etc. It's so, so fascinating, our relationships between right and left, so thank you!

Maddie said...

LEFT on!!!

loved this post !

and the left feels oh so right to
me too:)

Jonice said...

My left thumb goes on top, too. My right hand does all the writing and squeezes all the orange juice. All the same, my left feels so right! lol... And last but not least, my left leg is the good one for hop scotch.
Have a nice week :)

Niall said...

I am left handed..I always have been.During my teenage years I broke my left arm badly..after being released from the plaster..I went and broke it again.Through this series of unfortunate events, I learned how to do many things right handed..eta, play tennis, cricket...use scissors..But never did I manage to write or draw with my right.

I have two children who are left handed. My Mother was naturally left handed, but at school they tied her hand behind her back to make her use her right that is wht I call sinister!..Horrid but true!

UL said...

Brain - left, hand - left, i have left leaning tendencies both in hand and politics, but circumstances always pulled me the other way, now I would like to consider myself well- balanced. But then that's perfect and nobody is perfect, ever! Where does that leave me? I wonder. Thanks for the post, nice take.

Redness said...

You're right - we can adapt and be happy no matter what! I'm 60 - 40 that's close enough to 50 - 50, delightful!!! Love your post and blog ;~)

cat said...

LOL ;P *

Devil Mood said...

Just Jen: Oh sorry, my blog can be a bit tricky!
You're right about the maths, I do them like that too, but I was thinking in simpler terms like 22 + 22 = 44. But you're right!
I did the test you had on your blog and it said I was left-brained - didn't understand that! ;)

R2R: If only my photo wasn't so bad, you'd see that it's the Cathedral in Venice :)

Thanks Tumblewords :)

Chrispito: I'm glad you liked it :) But if your left-side hurts, isn't it controlled by the right side of the brain? To be honest, it's not something I think about much, so this post was good to make me wonder.

Maddie: hehe I see that phrase is gaining fans :)

Jonice: I'd say you're pretty balanced between your two sides!

Niall: It's terrible what they did to keep people from writing with their left hand. What was the problem? Was it symbolic? I can't believe you broke your arm twice!! Bad luck...

UL: lol I guess we shouldn't try to push things to one side too much, or life has a way to make us learn to balance. :)

Redness: Thank you! 60-40 seems very balanced :)

Cat: Estou a ser perseguida! Ainda vou ter que comprar o Cd :P

Ps said...

Left becomes right depending on how you look at it! i loved this post.Even in india,left is generally associated with anything negative.

Chloe said...

He-he very informative.
I am left handed and the only thing my right hand is good for is moving the mouse. And everything else on me is left too, for example I have better sight in my left eye. It seems that my right side is a bit dormant.
As for politics, I am more left than right. I mean, i am not right, at all.

Stephanie said...

The hand thing doesn't work with me, if it's supposed to be left hand comes out on top, and I'm pretty sure that side of my brain is supposed to be the boss of me. Unless I've got it backwards - which is always always possible.

dharmabum said...

this is a strange post, coz it happens here in india too. specially south india - the left always has a negative connotation. thereby, most people are taught not to use the left hand for giving or taking things, eating, etc...even children who are naturally left handed are sometimes forced to use the right hand. i wonder why the association...

Devil Mood said...

PS: How strange that is such a worldwide thing!

Chloe: Mine is the contrary - I see better from my right eye, but I'm very lefty when it comes to politics.

Stephanie: I thought my dominant brain was the right, but I did a test that said the opposite. But I'm stubborn so I don't care what it says. So that's a way for you to take it too.

Dharmabum: I wonder why too! But it's torture for those poor kids. It's so unnatural to them.