The problem is not that we have problems or encounter difficulties because no-one lives a completely problem or difficulty-free life. The real problem is whether we have or can acquire the tools to handle our problems and difficulties.

It is this lack-of-tools problem that should frame how evaluations for personal, educational, medico-legal and legal purposes are conducted. This radically different approach entails three aspects. First, and somewhat counter-intuitively, we focus initially, not on the presenting problem, but on the tools used to solve them. Second, it focuses on the role of the obscured mis-match between the writing and the adept hand as a co-factor in most presenting problems. Third it explicitly tackles the hegemony of the /right/.  The mis-match between writing non-adept hand constitutes a core-processing dysfunction for which no-one seeks help. It presents the greatest treatment meta-problem because it interlocks with the hegemony of the /right/.

Intractable problems

Intractable problems are defined as those long standing personal, inter-personal and interactional problems which endure despite one's best attempts to resolve them; even when using common-sense and when trying to follow experts' advice.

The puzzle is why it should be so difficult to resolve them in spite all our best efforts. There are only two possible explanations. The first is that they have been inadequately framed. The second is that they are genuinely unresolvable. The only way to find out which is which is by acknowledging that each presenting problem lies within three frames On the one hand lies the hegemonic quartet:  wright, wright, write and rite. On the other lies the lack of adequate tools. And between them both lie an issue about handedness

Hegemony of the /right/:

The hegemonic quartet - right, write, rite and wright - constitutes a problem within whatever the presenting problem, is  because it frames how we ask questions but more importantly it also determines what we accept as valid answers to those questions. The hegemonic aspect is hidden because of the interplay amongst their overlapping meanings. At the heart of the hegemony is the interplay between our two senses, sight (in this instance spelling on the page) and sound (speech). 

Failure to acknowledge this meta-problem creates an unnecessary waste of time and expense when trying to solve presenting problems. This hegemony constitutes a key issue in literate societies where writing defines and structures our sense of self. For the 'helping' agencies to ignore this meta-problem indicates they're suffering from at best begnign neglect and at worst from willful negligence.

Adequate Tools?

One of the principal reasons why problems remain unresolved is because we fail to consider what tools we're using to solve them. The following are considered to be some of the key tools

  • Tetrahedron
  • Ice-berg
  • Jig-saw puzzle
  • Cusp catastrophe graph
  • World-views : mind sets : explanatory schemas ; mental frameworks
Tetrahedron (ie four-sided pyramid)
is used as a holistic image to model the systemic nature of individuals, who are either in harmony or not with themselves and the worlds they live in. It is used in contrast to a 'separatist' image which regards the physical, emotional, social and intellectual aspects of ourselves as separate components which may or may not interact with each other to help or hinder the individual.
The ice-berg
image is used to indicate that the 'problem' we see, is often, the tip of greater problems which we don't or can't immediately see.
Jig-saw puzzle

to represent the fact that all parties to the interaction hold some of the pieces of the puzzling picture. One task is to lay out the pieces face up. Another is to allow them to assemble themselves into a meaningful 'problem-solving' strategy.

The cusp catastrophe
is used both to assess orientation difficulties (when trying to draw it) and as a map on which to metaphorically place oneself with the current problem and where to re-position oneself once the problem has been resolved and to show the path between them both.
explain why experts working in the same field often disagree with each other. World-views determine which facts we seek and accept as evidence and which we neither seek nor accpet. There is a general ignorance about world-views (otherwise known as mind-sets, explanatory schemas or mental frameworks) among both professionals and the public. The best account of world-views in Pepper's World-Hypotheses: A Study in Evidence


Handedness is not normally considered to be indicative of a core body-mind problem. However whenever we are confronted by someone with an appararently intractacble problem (in our literate society) we need to consider how the hands are being used.  For example, we assume that people automatically write with their 'writing' hand. But how do we know whether this is the proper writing hand?

Here we need to distinguish between three types of 'hand' writing, adept and preferred.

The writing hand is easily noted by watching which hand is used to write.

The adept hand is the hand which is better able to read the mind's eye image with seemingly effortless ease. It is not necessarily the writing hand.

The preferred hand is, as the name implies, the hand one chooses to regard as their 'right' hand.

It should be noted that the term 'handedness' is short hand for a whole mind-body orientation-organization phenomenon). Writing with the non-adept hand is indicative of someone out of harmony with themselves (and therefore potentially with the world as well) and is labelled latent or converted handedness. 

Failure to eliminate the mismatch between the writing and the adept hand, as a co-factor in any presenting problem when conducting evaluations for psychological, educational, medico-legal or legal purposes, incurs heavy financial and emotional costs, particularly for the entire education system. Its neglect will also result in ineffectual Personalised Education, Professional Development or Reasonable Adjustments in the Work Place for Fitness-to-Work treatment programmes. The greatest cost-savings are in respect of  dyslexia and recidivism. Our radical solution is to ask the meta-question:

"What constitutes necessary or sufficient evidence that handedness is NOT  a co-factor causing or sustaining presenting problems, whatever those problems might be?"

We seldom ask this question because we assume that everyone writes with their adept hand, whether left or right.


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