Monday, 16 February 2009

Skill Absorption Through Handwriting

Confession time. If not for this particular little trick, I wouldn't be anywhere near as good at math as I am. (Yes, I'm not brilliant at it, but I did get through the Economics Tripos, okay? You wanna hear this or not?)

Simple trick, really. You can take upon the characteristics of anyone you choose by emulating the handwriting. I guess the basis of the principle is "how you do anything is how you do everything". Of course, I had no idea of anything of the kind when I discovered this as a kid.

Here's what I ran into. I had some friends who were great mathematicians but really lousy writers. Then, there were the great linguists who were incapable of doing anything with numbers. Upon studying their handwritings (easy when you're in the same class), I discovered that their mental tendencies or traits became visibly enshrined in the form of their handwriting.

There seems to be something in this, and Project Renaissance has made some progress in this direction by experimenting with the different mental reactions one gets from using completely different handwriting. I believe that our handwriting shows our mental tendencies, the signatures of consciousness. There is nothing mystical about it. If you are the type who likes fluid thought, who likes ideas to link, then that mental tendency will show up in the way you wield the pen, probably in the form of connected handwriting. In fact, I've found that a lot of good essayists of my acquaintance display this trait. Mathematicians, on the other hand, use decidedly blocky handwriting. It displays the tendency of stopping to think at every step, and carefully checking.

How do I know all this? Well, experimentation, for one. Funny how people throw up their hands in horror when I suggest that. It's not that difficult: Get a sheet of white, unlined paper. (The unlined helps you to see the tendencies up and downward. If you're interested in the technical version, get a good book on graphology.) Then, copy someone's handwriting. I mean, really copy it. Down to the slant, flourish, (dis)connectedness, height, depth, size, closeness of characters. Notice what differences exist between your version and theirs. More importantly, as you do this, notice what is going in your mind. Are you having to effort more in one direction than the other? Is the handwriting too meticulous for you? The handwriting will reveal the tendencies of consciousness.

Okay, pal. What use is this to me in real life? Well, I invoke the mathsy handwriting for math exams, and they are the only reason I am able to trigger carefulness. You see, I anchored my friends' traits further into my version of their handwriting, so I can access different talents with just a twist of the pen. Cool, huh? Think about what you can learn from Newton. (That one had BAD handwriting.)

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