Thursday, August 22, 2013

One Handed People

I lost one of my hands someplace along the way. It now seems to be regrowing, strong and useful. Not literally; I am referring to some lines from John Donne's To The Countess of Bedford:
Reason is our soul's left hand, faith her right;
By these we reach divinity...
Pain took away my right hand when I was a young man. Along the way I came to believe my left hand had attacked and removed it. But no, I was so strongly right-handed as a youngster because of the way my parents raised me, my left hand was practically useless. This caused me great emotional distress.
Ooooh, I see that type of thing every day. These right-handed faith people who rarely use their left hands. I live among them; work with them; I've even been challenged to debates by them (see my last post).
Of course I also know a few folks who are so strongly left-handed they think their right hands are a joke. Such I was well on my way to becoming.

Now I am seeking a more ambidextrous approach


  1. I wasn't raised in an extremely religious environment although my family did attend church. I think my parents did that because that was what they were supposed to do and not because that was what was in their hearts. I wasn't encouraged towards reason either, but that's where I felt more comfortable as I grew up. I was always secretly envious of my religious friends and their faith because I just didn't get it. Nothing about religion seemed to make sense to me. Often times I mimicked them by attending their churches or going to summer Bible camp with them. Nothing I did; however, seemed to open myself up to relying on the same kind of faith they had. Yet, I now recognize as I look back over my life that much of my life has been lived in the presence of a blind faith. Perhaps it isn't the same type of faith that others have, but I feel comfortable with my belief system and no longer feel the need to search for the God others seem to know well.

    1. Reason is a really great thing. But is it the only thing? Some of the best times of my life were the frivolous times. For example, I almost totally stopped being a romantic because I lost my heart in my head. What is love, after all, but chemicals kicking around inside the brain (I actually wrote a post about this at my former blog), or maybe lust with a little gilding? Maybe it is a category all its own and not so reasonable a thing after all.

      Maybe life contains some things that are best accepted the way one of my exasperated female friends explained it to me: "Doug, some things are just the way they are just because they are that way." Maybe. Maybe not.

      I seek what I call a more ambidextrous position. One that engages both reason and faith, that is, the hopes a heart can entertain when it is involved in the process.

      Religion is problematical. But I've come to the conclusion that I have more in common with spiritual minded folks than with those folks who want to reduce everything to just so many atoms or quarks (or whatever). My right hand, my heart, intuits that the sum is greater than the parts. (Of course, at the same time, I hope I've come across in my writings as being a person who doesn't want to use faith as an excuse for not thinking about things critically.)

  2. To quote an old me, "Amen".

    1. Don, where you been man? I thought you might approve of my approach here.

    2. Indeed I do! Mostly because I spent so much of my time "right-handed" only.

      As you may have perceived, our feelings about life closely approximate one another.

  3. I'm working my way back through from my darkest point. Who knows exactly where I'll end up. I certainly don't.