What is character? Character is destiny. Free will forms character. Nature colors character. Nurture flavors character. Circumstance shapes character. Time tunes character. Character can be seen in the hands.
People often portray character as if character were something good to have. If someone has character you can trust him or her. Character is not good or bad, but good and bad. Our character is the sum of our thoughts, feelings, ideologies, and experiences. Very few of us are pure types. We’re the best and worst of twelve different archetypes whose relationships with each other form one huge dysfunctional family. Our collective and personal unconscious creates drama. Our subconscious directs our plot. Our consciousness is stage-manager. As Joseph Campbell said, “Oedipus crosses 42nd Street”.
Why do we have the hands we have? Why are we who we are? How much is nature and how much is nurture? My wife, Joanna, and I shared a unique opportunity to tackle the nature vs. nurture question first hand over twenty years ago. I pulled our baby from Joanna’s womb and cut her cord. Joanna tells the story of how I was reading Cassie’s hands before I knew what sex she was. It’s true. Her tiny hands could barely wrap around my index finger and they already had a tale to tell of her major life challenges that lie ahead; her strengths, weaknesses, skills, talents, goals, hopes, and dreams. Those tiny hands were beautiful, but on closer scrutiny, I felt confused and concerned. Cassie’s index finger was very short. She’d have conflict with her self-esteem and spirituality. She also had a very short heart line, which I interpreted as serious, untrusting, and unable to articulate her feelings. Joanna and I have normal length index fingers and long expressive heart lines. We’re very romantic and easily share our feelings. Why was Cassie so different from us? (video)
Armed with knowledge and understanding, Joanna and I worked with Cassie to help her to become as healthy, happy, and fulfilled as she could be. It took Cassie’s formative years for her to learn to fully trust us. Had we been impatient, intolerant, or overcritical of her, she would have turned out very differently. Cassie worked hard to learn to think critically, to be decisive, and to exercise her free will in healthy ways. Luckily, she’s naturally creative, philosophical, and spiritually aware. Her serious side is pragmatic, cautious, very private, and brutally frank at times. She’s a fabulous bullshit detector. Cassie’s close friends appreciate her honesty. Her index finger and heart line have both grown longer and stronger over the years and continue to grow. She’s gracefully unfolded with courage, strength, and dignity. Joanna and my index fingers have also grown stronger over the years.