Saturday, 10 November 2007

Sunday Scribblings #84 - Left and Right

The first thing that zoomed into my head when I read the prompt was recollections of the people who've irritated the life out of me by their lack of letting their left hand know what their right hand was doing!

Yes ... I know another adage, I love an adage or two, don't know why ... easy ... I thought, everyone knows those quirky people ... you know the ones, unco-ordinated, can't get their act together ???

The ones that only tell you half the story, usually aren't organised, frequently haven't heard the whole story and mess up a task or plans ... well that's what I thought when I started this ... but curiosity led me to Google and here's the origin ...

The left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing

Meaning ~
One's varied interests are kept separate.


Origin ~
This originates from the Bible, Matthew 6:3 (King James Version)


But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth.
That meaning alluded to the wisdom of not giving oneself credit for providing charity to others - just give and forget about it. That view was reiterated by Henry Thoreau in his Walden; or life in the woods, 1854:"If you should ever be betrayed into any of these philanthropies, do not let your left hand know what your right hand does, for it is not worth knowing."
The original meaning of the phrase is now lost. We presently use the phrase to suggest that, in business, one should keep one's interests independent of each other.

SOoooooo ... that's blown that theory out the window ... NEXT!

12 Comments:

Gill said...

That is so interesting - the real meaning is not at all what I interpret the adage to mean! You learn something new everyday ;-) Please don't kill me, but I have tagged you over on my blog!

paisley said...

sometimes knowledge is very much like playing telephone.. it goes in with one intention,, and comes out a bit twisted but equally as effectual.....

tumblewords said...

I guess that's why they say ignorance is bliss - once a person begins to think -
Good post!!

Devil Mood said...

Or maybe people have too many faces, to say it in another way ;)

Jo said...

Fascinating, I had no idea.

Lesley said...

Thanks! I love learning the root of those well known phrases and sayings!

UL said...

I didnt know either....your posts are very informative. Thank you.

Patois said...

Uh-oh, I'm so guilty of using the adage improperly. What an interesting account.

Ice said...

Redness,
Well now, that clears that up. I guess I'll have to go apologise to dozens of folks who I had mis-thought didn't know their left from their right. ;_
rel

khambagirl said...

I had a patient once who had a ruptured aneurysm in her brain. It literally destroyed the part of the brain that communicated between left and right. And one hand truly did not know what the other was doing. Made it difficult to do so many things -- count out money with one hand, take it back with the other, etc. Interesting to hear of its roots. Thanks!

khambagirl said...

I had a patient once who had a ruptured aneurysm in her brain. It literally destroyed the part of the brain that communicated between left and right. And one hand truly did not know what the other was doing. Made it difficult to do so many things -- count out money with one hand, take it back with the other, etc. Interesting to hear of its roots. Thanks!

Herb Urban said...

Fascinating. I had no idea either.

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