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Thread: Is Western Civilization offspring of our brain's left hemispheres dominance

  1. #11
    Bestio
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    Post Re: Is Western Civilization offspring of our brain's left hemispheres dominance

    Quote Originally Posted by EgilSkallagrimsson
    This is an Addendum, rather than an reply.
    Whilst reflecting upon this admirable article this afternoon, a thought occurred to me: What are we to make of those ancient peoples who wrote in boustrophedon (as the ox turns in plowing) i.e. alternately from right to left and left to right. They must have been VERY confused people, wouldn't you think ?
    To us, who are accustomed to writing from left to right, this would be a very difficult and tiring way to write. What, I wonder , were the thought processes of those who wrote this way ?
    I suppose you’re right , since any pure boustrophedon dind’t ever lasted for too long , Egyptian writing system was a combination of phonemes , particular determinatives , glyphes etc etc , more a rebus writing than a boustrophedon.

    When you’re reading a rightward line you’re using your left hemisphere , and viceversa , so a reader that has read a boustrophedon book , would have “carried” his blood into his left hemisphere , and alternatively , into his right one , every , say 4 seconds , the time it takes to finish reading a 7 centimetres-long line ; since in humans , at least in right-handed males , hemispheres are quite specialized to make one kind of task alone , I too suppose such writing system woul have brought some schizoid effect . . .
    It's interesting to note that nobody ever retained this practise for very long. It was always abandoned early,in favor of writing from left to right. I cannot think of a single Semitic culture which ever wrote in boustrophedon (maybe the Phoenicians ?)
    Usually , semitic people , since they don't clearly express vowels , need to focus their blood into their right hemisphere , and this works very well with leftward alphabets such as arabic and hebrew , the right hemisphere is the best by far to decode a written paper throu its context , in fact jews and arabs don't read "consequently" a text (they can't do it because of the lack of vowels...) , so they "quickly jump" with the eye from a word to another one that is located say , a couple of lines later , while we westerners can read a book , word by word , indeed a sheer sequence , and accordin to what scientists say , the left hemisphere decode much better a sequence than a context.
    in addition to the difficulty of writing the characters "backwards" was there not a subtler psychological reason to abandon this scheme of writing?
    Boustrophedon must have been too "opaque" even for the ruling caste of scribes , I can't tell you more , since I'm not a specialist in this.
    Last edited by Bestio; Wednesday, September 15th, 2004 at 01:54 PM.

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