"Begin at the beginning,and go on till you come to the end: then stop." (Lewis Carroll, 1832-1896)

Alice came to a fork in the road. "Which road do I take?" she asked."Where do you want to go?" responded the Cheshire cat."I don't know," Alice answered."Then," said the cat, "it doesn't matter."

"So long as I get somewhere," Alice added as an explanation. "Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."

"All right," said the Cat; and this time it vanished quite slowly, beginning with the end of the tail, and ending with the grin, which remained some time after the rest of it had gone. "Well! I've often seen a cat without a grin," thought Alice; "but a grin without a cat! It's the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!"

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I am diagonally parked in a parallel universe. Like Arthur Dent from "Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy", if you do not have a Babel Fish in your ear this blog will be completely unintelligible to you and will read something like this: "boggle, google, snoggle, slurp, slurp, dingleberry to the power of 10". Fortunately, those who have had the Babel Fish inserted in their ear, will understood this blog perfectly. If you are familiar with this technology, you will know that the Babel Fish lives on brainwave radiation. It excretes energy in the form of exactly the correct brainwaves needed by its host to understand what was just said; or in this case, what was read. The Babel Fish, thanks to scientific research, reverses the problem defined by its namesake in the Tower of Babel, where a deity was supposedly inspired to confuse the human race by making them unable to understand each other.


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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Right Hand Of God

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"And sittith on the righthand of god the father almighty, from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead." - Nicene Creed
Why was the righthand the "right" side and the lefthand the "wrong" side? The reason may go back to some of our earliest observations of the sky.

In the Northern Hemisphere,the early thinkers and teachers noted that their own shadows moved from left to right, as does the shadow of a stick or a sundial move from left to right during the course of the sun across the heavens.

In that same northern hemisphere, however, if you want to check the path of the sun across the heavens, you have to face south, and the sun moves from your left to your right. Therefore, our preference for the right over the left may be based in ancient mythology, ancient astrology, ancient sun worship, where the sun was moving AWAY from the left towards the right.

Ancient sun worshippers in the northern hemisphere, (modern religions were probably influenced by these thoughts too), would have seen their god, the sun, moving steadily away from the left and towards the right. The same pattern can be seen when travelling southwards from the northern hemisphere in a ship.

When the ship is travelling from the northern hemisphere southwards towards the equator, the sun appears to rise to the left (east), reaches its highest point almost straight overhead, and sets to the right (west). When the ship is far to the south of the equator, then the sun continues to appear to rise to the left (east), reaches its highest point due behind (north), and sets to the right (west).

That this was the path that the ancients believed their god took, as it moved across the sky, was probably enough reason for them to be suspicious of the left.

Exodus 15:6 "Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy."

Red Hot Chili Peppers - "Road Trippin" (Just a Mirror For The Sun)


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Blogger L>T said...

A lot of powerful symbolism in that concept.
When I was a christian & took an interest in the origins of symbolisms in the scripture, I was discouraged from pursuing that line of thinking. Although, symbolism IS an important aspect in all religions, looking to closely at it is considered dangerous territory. Why would Christians not want to understand their own roots?

30/1/07 3:24 am  
Blogger Blueberry said...

I believe that hand preference exists in animals and we merely evolved to be mostly right-handed. Who knows why right is preferred? Tough question! As for words, funny how "left" also means adandoned, as in "left behind"

30/1/07 7:49 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

It wasn't uncommon for people back in the day to be re-trained to use their right hands as opposed to their left hands.
There's always been a prejudice against southpaws.
As I understand it, most Semitic languages are read right-to-left (but I could be off on this).
Strangely enough, my good friend (who's a YEC'er, no less), is a southie.
As an amusing sidenote, Ned Flanders on the Simpsons is a right-wing fanatic, but runs a leftorium.

30/1/07 8:43 am  
Blogger DiscordianStooge said...

I'd point out that "sinister" means left handed.

I'd like to find out why there is a hand preference bilogically.

30/1/07 9:31 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE lt

I agree that religious believers are not encouraged to think about the origins of faith, or why certain things are done or believed in. Of course, when it is considered wicked, or bad to doubt faith, it is no wonder that many people do not ask questions.

30/1/07 10:22 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE blueberry

I read somewhere recently that chimps are predominately left handed. It is interesting that one of our closest relatives shows a preference for the opposite hand. I have no idea why this is so, but it is another interesting part of the puzzle of life.

Of course there are all these theories about how if you are righthanded, you tap into different brain potentials, but I am as yet unconvinced about the authority of this.

30/1/07 10:26 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE ka

Yes, my mother was one of them. And she went to a catholic school where the nuns were able to convince her,not so subtlely in those days, that she should write with her right hand.

Their methods at that time involved a ruler which was applied often to the back of the left hand.

It wasn't a good way to spread the "love and peace of religion" as far as my mother was concerned.

30/1/07 10:30 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE discord:

Yes that is right. Interesting isn't it, that a preference for one side or the other is taken to be sinister or evil.

I don't know why the majority of people are righthanded, but from an evolutionary point of view, it may convey an advantage. What that advantage is, if one exists, I don't know.

What I have noticed is that many outstanding thinkers, artists and innovators have been lefthanded. Whether or not there is a correlation between lefthanded and creativity /freethought, I am not sure. But it is interesting, none the less.

30/1/07 10:36 am  
Blogger DiscordianStooge said...

Re: Left-handed chimps:

Maybe the reason we humans managed to create everything from the printing press to the DVR is because of being right-handed, while chimps are out there creating ... um, great works of impressionist art?

31/1/07 3:17 am  
Anonymous ted said...

Right-handedness is more common than left-handedness in humans. If we could go back far enough, I think it's probably as simple as that. What's not in the norm, especially before you have the science to study something or explain why something is so, will generally be considered an abhorrence.

My left-handed grandmother for instance (born 1901) had her left hand tied to the chair behind her back at school and she was severely beaten if she tried to liberate it.

31/1/07 8:11 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE ted

My lefthanded mother suffered a similar fate. Except it was the nun's ruler.

31/1/07 11:23 am  
Blogger Arthur_Vandelay said...

What I have noticed is that many outstanding thinkers, artists and innovators have been lefthanded.

Not to mention great cricketers.

31/1/07 2:23 pm  
Blogger Arthur_Vandelay said...

My left-handed grandmother for instance (born 1901) had her left hand tied to the chair behind her back at school and she was severely beaten if she tried to liberate it.

The power of magical thinking!!

31/1/07 2:25 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

Wasn't there something about 'rising to the right hand of gawd' in the gospels?

31/1/07 6:52 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE arthur

Cricketers are never great, they just have a natural affinity for being on TV during summer. ;)


Yes, quite a few quotes concerning "the righthand" in the bible. Some people say that the righthand of god referecnes the authority of god.

1/2/07 8:22 am  

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