Thursday 27 April 2006

Raymond Tallis on a 'future at hand'

Raymond Tallis The Hand is an absorbing analysis of the hand as the critical agent in human evolution. While his argument is occasionally repetitive (and strays too often into terrible puns), there is a wonderful series of descriptions of the specific meanings associated with specific formations of the hand, such as the difference between hand-rubbing and hand-wringing. His conclusion has an interesting perpective on the 'future of the hand':

'We may anticipate a world in which the hand finally fades away as the main agent of productive labour -- mission accompished, apart from a little adjustment every now and then (the hand that holds the mobile phone or gives the instruction or presses the button).
'This combined with a clear undertanding of human possibility as we have hinted at, will free the hand to be the agent of hands-on caring or and of recreation -- handicraft, music-making, sport, lovemaking. The noisy, polluting world of the first generation of intelligent tools will be replaced by the infinitely renewable quiet world of information processors. There will still be a need for consumption -- man does not live or love by information alone -- but this will diminish. The hand will not fade: its warmth will seek out the warmth of others' hands. And art, tenderness and love will be able to find their true place at the heart of human life.'

Raymond Tallis The Hand: A philosophical inquiry into human being Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2003, p. 346

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