ThoughtShades FrameWork

Essays, Themes, Opinions

Constructs, Practical Ideas, Applications

Poetry, Impression Writing

Sermons, Devotions

Personal Revelations, Illustrations

Viewpoint: Politics, Contemporary Issues, Editorials


Choice Offerings by Others

Powered by Squarespace
« Morgan County Morning | Main | Writing the History of a Local Church »

The Asymmetry of Functionality

While the purpose of Leonardo da Vinci’s famous Vitruvian man was to satisfy the mathematical and philosophical conundrums of his day in circles and squares (it’s complicated), it also illustrates the symmetry of the human body.  Conceptually, the left side is a mirror image of the left side. Like an equilateral triangle, there is balance and evenness to both aspects of the human form.  Medical science uses the term “bilateral symmetry” to explain the anatomy of the body—as opposed to asymmetry, radial symmetry or spherical symmetry.

This biological principle would seem to establish perfect equality between the left and right sides. Actually, this is not true from a purely anatomical perspective.  For example, many people have a slightly different shoe size between the right and left foot, some have arms or legs of differing length, and all have differences between the opposite sides of facial features.  Photographers can discern their subject’s good side and not-so-good side in terms of profile.  Few of us, if any, are exact matches on both sides of the entire body.

But beyond anatomy, the far more critical difference between the right and left sides of the human form is the difference in function.  According to neuroscientists, the left and right hemispheres of the brain function very differently from each other (although they overlap in many ways).  The bilateral development of the heart evolves early on in the fetus to complement—not match—each other for blood circulation.  These two phenomena develop autonomically.  The most interesting functional difference, however, is dexterity.  Researchers are undecided on how left-handedness and right-handedness are determined, but they believe that the answers most likely lie in individual genetics.  In many cases, however, persons have been forced to use their other hand because of injury or some other external cause, thus proving that dexterity can be learned.  Many people are ambidextrous.  Theoretically, dexterity is immaterial, but in practical matters, society as a huge bias against left-handers.  (Left-hander blogs constantly hammer on this point.) 

In light of the asymmetry of functionality, redraw da Vinci’s man to reflect giftedness, talents, abilities and disproportionate parceling out of traits and characteristics.  If a man is right handed, make the right arm big and the left arm little.  If he likes music more than mathematics, swell the right side of his head and shrink the left side.  If one eye has keener sight than the other, make that eye bigger.  The outcome for him, and for all other seven billion individual human beings on earth so analyzed and diagramed, would be unbalanced, lop-sided and pretty comical.  In terms of functionality, no one fits the Vitruvian man.  Our differences could not be more pronounced.

So, what is the point?  Simply this: do not be judgmental of people who don’t think the way you do.  Refuse to attach more significance to some trait you prefer rather than one you dislike.  Stop criticizing people (that is, if you do) for learning something slower or faster (or not at all).  Cancel your expectations that you impose on others that they should be as smart as you are.  Yes, there are standards and norms to which all of us must adhere (mathematics, gravity, physical laws, etc.), but there are also thousands of ways that we are legitimately, properly and appreciatively different from each other even within our universal boundaries. 

So, you don’t like art?  Well then, imagine a world without art.  Pretty bland.  Don’t like science?  Where would we be without it?  Resent people who are all about making money?  Well, stop participating in the economy (working, earning, saving, buying, selling).  Think we could live without music?  Trash all your CD’s, sound tracks, Bose systems and nursery songs.  If everybody were just like you (or me), this world would be as disproportionate and dysfunctional as we are!  Heaven, spare us!  However, this great multi-colored, intricate, variegated tapestry of human society consists of all these things…and much more!  Every red needs a green, every orange needs a blue, every yellow needs a violet—these are all complementary colors.   We need each other far more than we could ever imagine.  

One more thing, if we were all alike, then there would be no need for love.  We would automatically have an affinity for each other with no challenge to our affections.  It is precisely because of the asymmetry of functionality that the overarching need for love exists. 

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.  In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.  In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.  By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.  And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.  Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.  Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the Day of Judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.  There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.  We love Him because He first loved us.  If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.” 1 John 4:7-21 (NKJV)






PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>