Sunday, February 10, 2008


For my Geography of Identities class I am reading Space and Place by Yi-Fu Tuan. If you have ever been interested in the way we as humans react and experience space and the places we inhabit you should definitely pick up this book.

I just got to a section on right and left distinctions and found it oddly intriguing. It reads:

In nearly all the cultures of which information is available the right side is regarded as far superior to the left. Evidence for the bias is particularly rich in Europe, the middle East and Africa, but the bias is also well documented for India and Southeast Asia. In essence, the right is perceived to signify sacred power, the principle of all effective activity, and the source of everything that is good and legitimate. The left is it's antithesis; it signifies the profane, the impure ,the ambivalent and the feeble, which is maleficent and to be dreaded. In cosmological space the right represents what is high, the upperworld, the sky" while the left is connected with the underworld and the earth... The ancient Arabs equated the left with the north and Syria. The word šimâl indicates both north and the left side. The Araic word for Syria is Sam: its root meaning a "misfortune" or "ill augury" and "left." A related verb sa'ma, means both to bring bad luck and to turn left.

I begin to wonder weather my parents knew this when they decided to name me Samantha, or that I would later learn to write with my left hand.

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