Left Thumb or Right Thumb?

There was an interesting programme on TV the other day that was trying to pin down if there is a real difference between men’s and women’s brains. It would seem as if there are differences although the debate rumbles on as to whether this is down to nature or nurture. In reality it’s probably a bit of both. As part of the programme and the taster for it on the One Show earlier they conducted a series of tests that viewers could carry out to see if the way their brains worked were more stereotypically male or female. One was to clasp your hands together with the fingers interlinked in an alternating pattern – go on give it a go right now before reading any further. You may be aware that different sides of the brain are said to be responsible for different aspects of thinking. The left hand side is supposed to be responsible for creative/emotional thinking (‘female’) and the right more logical thinking (‘male’). Which of these is dominant for you is thought to determine which thumb you have now at the top. If your left thumb is on the top, your right brain side is dominant and vice versa. My right thumb generally ends up at the top – you may spot that whilst I’m preaching and not concentrating on what I do with my hands – it would seem as if I have a female brain, although I’d prefer to put it emotionally aware and artistic brain! Strangely enough, though, in the other tests my thinking seemed to concur with the stereotypically male way of thinking.

Is being creative tied to our gender? I don’t think so. One thing is clear though, expressing ourselves artistically is something that we’ve always done as humans, it’s part of who we all are. Did you see the news this week about the finding of cave paintings in caves in Indonesia dating back to almost 40,000 years ago? Amazing paintings of animals and hand outlines where paint has been blown over hands held onto the cave surface. Stunning. Similar paintings exist in caves in Europe. People have always had the desire to express themselves wherever and whenever they existed, whether that be in a simple doodle, painting masterpiece or the Great British Bake Off!

Why is this? It’s got to be more than just device required to communicate. Sure some art serves a functional purpose such as road signs, but for much there is no such reason other than the desire to be creative or express emotion or ideas or create beauty or just to have fun. Sometimes we dismiss this as we get older and we realise that we’re no Michelangelo or Van Gogh as childishness. I find this a shame. You see I believe this is to cut ourselves off from something that makes us human. I believe that our creativity and appreciation of beauty is not a random part of our identity, an accident of the way our brain works, but something passed on to us and so valued by the one who made us, the one who’s creativity came up with the greatest canvas ever, the universe, and moulded us into being like a potter a pot. All beauty owes its existence to him and points to him, the one who looked at all he had made and said ‘it is good’.
Church newsletter article, Sunday12.10.14
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