Knowing is Possessing

  • Description of motion:  Both palms face up with arms extended outward.  Shoulders sometimes shrug. 
  • Date Observed: 12/24/14 at dinner party.  Many people seated at table (10-12)
  • Example:  A:  "Where is that noise coming from?"    B:  (Shrugs in response with hands facing out.)
  • Use:  Used in correlation with the expression, "I don't know."  Can be used without any correlating language.
  • Metaphor:  Ideas are Objects.  Knowing is Possessing. 
  • Explanation:  Since ideas are objects, answers to questions are objects as well.  If we do not know the answer to a question, we do not have the answers in our possession. We turn our palms up to show our hands are empty, effectively saying, the answers are not here.  I do not possess them.  Possible correlation with the expression "Search me" also a variation on "I don't know", but implies the law enforcement procedure of being searched.  In this instance, the turning of the hands with the palms up might be a submissive gesture as if to imply that you are ready to be searched.  Also implies that answers are objects that are not in your possession.
  • Origin:  We may possess a physical object such as a knife on our person that is hidden from someone else's view.  Even though the person cannot the knife, they may suspect that it exists.  In a similar way, we may possess knowledge that is also not apparent.  We would then need to be searched in both instances (for knives, for knowledge). 
  • Description of motion:  Both hands cover eyes as if there is something we don't want to see.  Sometimes hands slide down face and are put back into motion.
  • Date Observed: 12/24/14 at dinner party.  Many people seated at table (10-12)
  • Example:  A:  "Did you see the way Gina was acting at that party last night?"   B:  (Hands cover eyes in response) 
  • Use:  This can be used literally when there is something disgusting that we don't want to look at, or metaphorically, when there is an idea that we find objectionable, repulsive, bewildering, etc.  Can be used without language, as a means of expressing disbelief/bewilderment.
  • Metaphor:  Ideas are Objects.  Seeing is Understanding. Knowing is Possessing.  
  • Explanation:  The metaphor here is that since seeing is understanding and knowing is possessing, we cover our eyes since we don't want to posses that piece of information inside of us. Also sinceSeeing is Understanding we cover our eyes to show a lack of understanding, typically in relation to someone else's behavior.
  • Origin:  We often hear the quote, "Possession is 9/10ths of the law."  What this implies is that owning is very relational to possessing.  If I have a knife on my person, I possess the knife.  I might go as far to say that I own it.  When I know something such as, "The capital of the United States is Washington D.C."  I also think of it as a possession that I own. 
  • Sound:  Sometimes is accompanied by an exhaustive sound such as "Uh".
  • Description of motion:  Hands up protecting the face, palms facing outward.  
  • Date Observed: 12/24/14 at dinner party.  Many people seated at table (10-12)
  • Example:  "Woah! (hands up toward face) Don't say those kind of things in here!"
  • Use:  Used to shield yourself from an unwanted/harmful idea that is being expressed.  
  • Metaphor: Ideas are Objects.  Knowing is Possessing.  
  • Explanation:  If Ideas are Objects then harmful ideas are harmful objects.  When someone speaks and a harmful/unwanted idea comes out, we put our hands up to protect ourselves as it can be interperted as a projectile.  Also since Knowing is Possessing, we don't want the harmful idea inside of us so we shield ourselves from it, hoping that it will ricochet off our protective posture and not be absorbed inside of us.
  • Origin: Defending ourselves against unwanted attacks has been a human experience since the beginning.  We shield ourselves from attack by protecting our head or our body with our hands.  Ideas can be just as harmful as a physical blow to the body, and so we use these early gestures of protection to shield ourselves from these harmful ideas as well.
  • Note:  Other defensive gestures with metaphoric content are: one hand raised with palm facing out meaning "Stop", the hand "batting" something away meaning "Not a problem" or "No big deal", and the gesture of covering the eyes which implies Seeing is Understanding.  Since Seeing is Understanding, the eyes are covered implying either, "I don't see so I don't understand" or "I don't want to see, because I don't understand."

stuck in my mind - pointing to head - hand holds pen - using pen to point - charlie 1-14-2015