I was cutting grass this morning with a small handy scythe around vegetable beds in my garden. It made me think about one of the stupidities of our culture that’s been around for centuries.
We have two hands. They are both equal. Well, not completely equal, they are mirror images of each other. Still, why do we use only one of them; particularly when skill is required? Isn’t it basically stupid to have two hands and use only one? And why do we stress the right hand so much? Is that really right?
What I’d like to know is how cold we allow ourselves to get willfully handicapped into such one-handedness?
Resting my right foot and driving with my left foot (only) …
When I look around I see so many things designed for the right-handed. The scythe I am holding, the guitar I play every evening, the car I drive … even the manner of writing from left to right better suits the right-handed.
Still, I consider myself lucky! For most of my life I was more or less left-handed. Later on I started purposefully developing the skills of my right hand as well (by using my right hand for writing, eating, brushing my teeth, working with tools like hatchet, paring knife, scythe etc.). Using both hands (and feet) is a great training for the brain — I consider it bridge building between the rational/practical left brain and the emotional/intuitive right brain.
It is like map-matching between different outlines of reality saved inside the brain. It helps me feel what I understand and understand what I feel. It makes me intuit what I shall experience and experience what I had intuited. It (kind of) brings emotions closer to being tangible, thoughts colorful, feelings comprehensible; and it definitely makes the body more balanced.
I can use the tools that are designed for the right-handed with my left hand, too. And it’s fun! It makes me inventive and flexible! I could nag about not having a left-handed scythe, but I don’t nag. I make up my own ways of using it with the left-hand when my right hand is tired. To me it’s only sensible to switch hands when one gets tired. It makes work so much easier!
Yes, it does take some practice to get your weak hand skillful enough. Most people lose temper and stop trying to learn before they really get into it. But the persistence ultimately pays off. Do we have time to play and learn to be smart, skilled, proficient? Or will we rather give in to grumbling and taking life too seriously to try something new?
Practicing writing with my right hand in India in 2007.
I know my right hand will probably never be as strong and skillful as my right hand, I began developing its skill at a too late age. Had I known when I was five what I know now, I’d definitely be perfectly ambidextrous today. But, hey, I shouldn’t complain, should I? I am actually doing great! 🙂
When some people look at me, they conclude that I am out my RIGHT mind. I perfectly agree. I am out of single-mind because I am in both minds — right and left. Maybe I should remind the “right-minded” people of this world that all their right thinking and skill is conducted by their left brain. What a great symbolism this is: to neglect the left hand is to mutilate the right brain.
So tell me now, who is out of right mind, really?