THE UNCLEAN HAND
Dreamed 1995/5/24 by Chris Wayan
I'm reading an account by an Arab traveler who made it to China. He found toilet paper shocking. "They are not clean!" he wrote. "They wipe themselves with paper!" instead of with the left hand and then washing that hand and never touching food with it, as was customary back home.
I never thought about the implications of it. Going through life calling one hand clean and one hand unclean, unconsciously careful which hand you use for everything. Half of you, by extension--including your right brain-hemisphere, controlling the unclean hand--is unclean, its mute images and nonlinear longings all suspect--Satanic. No wonder lefties like me are sinister! Is this the real source of the crazy dualisms of Judeo-Christian-Muslim thought?
One idle hand is the Devil's playground!
Freud was right after all. Psychology, religion... it's all bad potty training!
I did once read an Arabic explorer's impressions of China (Ibn Battuta?), and he WAS appalled by toilet paper.
Several times today, I noticed I was overusing my dominant hand. I reversed habitual tasks. Found the other hand could do them just fine. Even write! How much handedness is training too? Reversing existing handedness may lead to stuttering but what if our culture trained everyone to use both hands right from the start? Everyone takes it for granted that typing and piano take both hands, and that doesn't lead to stuttering; so why can't we all learn to write with both, even if we favor one?
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