24 February 2011

To hold the world fixed and in focus

Some say the human faculty of language derived from the right hand's ability to grasp things. 
Could that be what Scripture had in mind when it spoke about the Old One's taking the Children of Israel out of Egypt with a grasping hand, a yad chazaqah
Mirror neurons are situated in the brain close to the area where the right hand's grasping is governed, which, in turn, is close to the area that controls speech. We mimic the articulation of either hand gestures or language. The way we know by grasping and holding and touching resembles the way the left hemisphere knows things. Touch communicates the thing a piece at a time and never the whole all at once, it communicates the type of thing rather than the individual, it pins the thing down and allows for fixity and certainty and the ability to manipulate (literally, to take a handful) and to dominate by the expression of will. To manipulate is the treat something as an object. The left hemisphere objectifies so that it can manipulate. 
"Language in summary brings precision and fixity, two very important features if we are to succeed in manipulating the world. ... We can't easily direct others to carry out our plans without language. We can't act at a distance without language. Language, it would seem, starts out with what looks like imperial aspirations." (The Master and His Emissary, Iain McGilchrist, 2009; page 114). 
The imperialism that comes with language manifests most directly in the hubris Man feels before the divine as Man acquires the skills of technology. God defeats that hubris by confounding Man's language. Bureaucratese is mechanical speech. It undermines Man's ability to create true solidarity. 
Man shapes his environment with his right hand, which is to say, with his left hemisphere. He does so through the abstraction and virtualization of language which allows Man to hold the world fixed and in focus as he manipulates it to his design. 
God shapes the people of Israel with His right hand as a counter-weight to Man's hubristic impulses. The Old One shapes the Israelites' political/economic system into one that would serve as an antidote to Man's dangerous impulse to dominate the environment into collapse. 

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