Handling long-standing personal problems
How do you handle long-standing or intractable problems? Do you try to follow the right advice? And if so, does it work? Presumably not, since the problem persists? And why, when we can hear what others tell us and see what they show us can we not do what we've been told or shown?
Answering these questions in a progressive problem-shifting manner involves questioning what we mean by the right advice and in particular in the context of 'human rights territory'. Since an underlying issue is the relationship between word (mind) and deed (body) we also need to explore the non-obvious implications and consequences of this relationship in the distinctively human activity of writing: and more specifically, not writing with the wright, that is adept, hand. Hence the need to:
- inform parents, professionals, non-professionals, academics and the media about the implications and consequences of not using the wright (adept) hand as the writing hand,
- assess for a possible mis-match between the writing and the adept hand, as a co-factor in a variety of apparently intractable problems,
- prevent children and adults developing intractable educational, general well-being and fitness-to-work problems,
- present Stephen Pepper's world-views framework and Karl Popper's interpretation-laden view of objective facts,
- define commonsense as did Descartes and the Ancient Greeks,
- emulate Dr Sattler's work with left handers and converted left handers.
A further answer is that we know problems have been properly framed only when they've been resolved. Hence when we say "I've tried everything, but nothing works!" we can be reasonably certain that there is no solution or that the solution involves tackling the hegemony of the /right/ and/or differences in world-views. Assuming there is a solution, we need to re-formulate our strategic objectives, firstly by examining the interplay between what we're trying to achieve and how we're trying to achieve it; and secondly by accepting that tasks are multi-faceted, and lie -within-other tasks; that problems lie-within-other-problems; that purposes lie- within-other purposes and that puzzles-lie-within-other-puzzles.
Adept (wright) hand: converted and latent handedness
The adept or wright hand is the hand which is able to execute complex manipulations with seemingly effortless ease. Using the non-adept hand as though it were the adept one is defined as latent or converted handedness. In the context of literacy this condition manifests itself when the writing-hand is unable to competently re-present the confident mind's-eye word or image on the page. As a core mind-body condition it is a co-factor in dyslexia and dyspraxia and with a variety of other conditions apparently unrelated to reading-writing.
'Latent handedness' signifies unwittingly using the non-adept hand as though it were the adept hand. The condition appears to be hidden from the self and from others.
'Converted handedness' signifies knowing that one has been induced or coerced into using the non-adept hand as if it were the adept hand some time in the past.
Dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD: remediable body-mind conditions?
Non-recognition of latent / converted handedness, its non-diagnosis and non-management is widespread throughout the English speaking world. One consequence? Unnecessarily burdensome costs - emotional and financial - on individuals, their families, industry, and the entire gamut of education, legal-judicial, penal and health-care systems: in short, on society as a whole.
This raises a systemic meta-puzzle: why do professionals who conduct personal, educational, medico-legal or legal evaluations fail to spot a possible mis-match between the writing and the adept hand when it is present?
Failure to eliminate the mis-match between the adept and the writing hand as a co-factor in any personal problem goes a long way to explaining why there is such limited success in remedying poor self-efficacy and poor self-esteem, reducing stress, remedying many special education needs conditions - such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, poor literacy, ADHD; and reducing recidivism rates.
Is the right way the only way to solve seemingly intractable problems?
It follows that the right way isn't necessarily the correct way for some to solve their apparently intractable problems. But what's left to do when we have tried doing the right thing, the right way, at the right time, in the right order and at the right place without resolving long standing, apparently intractable personal or interpersonal problems, even when we've used common-sense and followed experts' advice (although they often disagree amongst themselves over what we should do and how we should do it)? What's left is a non-intuitive radical approach involving unpacking the two background problems: the hegemony of the /right/ and an inadequate world-view. The hegemony of the /right/ arises because the utterance /right/ has four overlapping meanings in English:
- right- not left
- wright- indicating craftsmanship as in: arkwright ....playwright ... wainwright
- rite- with its role in ritual
- write- 'thinking' with pen on paper- and its variants
The meta-problem is that in addition "right"' is generally taken to be synonymous with the 'good', 'proper' and 'correct' way. The origin of the correspondence between the right direction / position and the right way can be traced back at least as far as the Ancient Egyptians (via the Ancient Romans and Ancient Greeks). They identified the ever-lasting good life as existing on the west bank of the Nile, that is the right side when facing south towards the source of the life-sustaining Nile. It is but a short step to labelling the hand pointing to the 'good side' as the'right' hand and then adopting this hand-land link as a shorthand for an egocentric-geocentric world-view about human entitlements.
From a young age the hegemon /right/ pervades everything native English (Anglo-Saxon) speakers say, hear, see, think, feel and do. This makes it difficult if not impossible for speakers of other tongues to inhabit the same common-ground when translating the utterance /right/: there will be an inevitable loss of nuanced meaning. It follows that the personal identity or sense of selfhood amongst Anglo-Saxon speakers'is shaped by the hegemon of the /right/. For this reason alone, left handers face a core difficulty, for when writing they are self-evidently not writing right!
Self-identity / efficacy is defined and identified here in terms of:
- what we handle, literally and metaphorically and the seemingly effortless ease with which we do so,
- who we interact with, how and whether to mutual benefit or not,
- the words and labels we use and how we use them.
Ignoring the role of the hegemony of the /right/ results in having to accept one of two 'non-/rights/' explanations for the origin and persistence of intractable difficulties. The more pessimistic holds that we are born fated to endure such difficulties. A less pessimistic view holds that we should frame difficulties as challenges or problems to be overcome or solved. A more optimistic approach holds that we should frame difficulties as puzzles, because puzzling compels us to attend as much to apparently insignificant details, which need to be assembled, as to the emerging and often changing bigger picture.
Common sense and self-efficacy
"No one can please all the people all the time" can be rephrased as "One person's commonsense is another's nonsense". However, commonsense is defined here as did Decartes and the Ancient Greeks: when what we see agrees with what we hear such that we feel self-confident. We do not define it as when there is no disagreement amongst us. Again it follows that our sense of self-efficacy is determined by how we construe the relationships amongst the various aspects of /right/. For some, each of the four /right/s is seen as a different facet of a single core body-mind entity; for others they are taken to refer to four fundamentally different entities.
Self-efficacy is ultimately a function of our tool use - or being wright focussed. And in general we overlook what hand-use tells us even though hand and brain work as-one. Mistakenly we tend to focus on what hands achieve, rather than watching howthey perform. This oversight sets up the false dichotomy in which we regard people as good with either their brains or with their hands. Brains and hands have evolved co-extensively: the brain 'controlling ' the hand via feed-forward from the hand to the brain.
Different world-views explain disagreements amongst experts
The second meta-problem, when encountering intractable personal and inter-personal problems for which there are no obvious solutions, and where even trying to do the right thing, the right way, at the right time and in the right order seldom achieves the right result , is the puzzle of why experts so often disagree amongst themselves in telling us what to do and how to do it. Although this meta-problem can cause an additional unwanted confusion, it can be resolved relatively easily by accepting that different individuals often hold differing and frequently conflicting world-views.
Pepper and Sattler: systemic perspectives
Systemic factors generally lie beneath the surface of seemingly intractable personal, educational and work-related difficulties. These can be placed within the neglected work of Stephen Pepper (mind) and the ignored work of Barbara Sattler (body). Pepper provides a conceptual framework for mapping the world-views of those offering and those in need of help.The best account of world-view theorising to date is to be found in Stephen Pepper's book, World Hypotheses: A Study in Evidence. Sattler offers detailed case-studies on the direct and indirect consequences of being a converted left-hander. Her publications evidence the need for 'behaviour change agents' in the non-German speaking world to note both the writing and the adept hand of those with educational, occupational and well-being difficulties. She states the position succinctly: to paraphrase - writing with the wrong hand causes 'knots in the brain' with attendant educational, relationship, mental health, and behavioural consequences.
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