Saturday, April 27, 2013

two things about the hands...

Two quick things about the hands: The first is that as Frank Wilson describes in his book, The Hand, the hands and brain co-evolved as a learning system. More brain real estate is dedicated to the sensing and operation of the hands than to any other organ. As just one small example, the intraparietal sulcus is a small fold in the cerebral cortex responsible for both finger sensing and the capacity to do math. And so, as described by Maria Montessori, the hands are the path to the mind. And if a teacher is smart, he or she will ask children to count on fingers rather than making them feel self-conscious about the need to do so.

A second thing about the hands is that they serve as one of humanity's most important symbols of self. When we talk of our feelings and emotions, we describe them with the language of the hands. Feeling. Being touched. Our own English word for ourselves, man or woman comes from the Latin word for the hand, manus. There are stage hands, ranch hands, all-hands-on-deck hands, and so when we speak of human beings being actively present and fully engaged, we say hands-on, even when the whole body, the whole boy, the whole child is completely engaged and not just the hands.

And of course, when I say "two things about the hands" I'm lying. There are so many other things to tell about the hands, for the hands touch every facet of human culture except too much of American public education, and the minds of leaders who tend to be driven more in some cases by ideological fantasies, than by the actual practicalities of life. With the exception being for those who are completely out of touch the hands are our most important organs, hands down. Besides their sensory capacity in helping us to more clearly interpret all of life, all human invention and creativity rests on the foundation provided by the hands.

I am pleased to be home from the Thea Art Show in Little Rock. I had a great time until the heavy rain commenced. But we are home safe, the boxes that got touched with splattered rain were carefully dried (by hand).

Make, fix and create...

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