A nice gesture

Frederick Denny's article on "Postures and Gestures" in The Encyclopedia of Religion may contribute to your survival in our uncivil society. Denny says there are religious gestures that communicate "adoration, affirmation, blessing, consecration, curse, gratitude, greeting, humility, invocation, meditation, mourning, oath taking, penitence, pleading, praise, prayer, protection, remorse, reverence, sorrow, and submission."

Where are these relevant outside of houses of worship? On traffic-clotted streets that induce road rage. John Tierney, in "Inventing a Hand Signal to Offset the Classic Gesture of Road Rage" (in the New York Times), reports on the need for gentler gestures. So contagious is road rage that I suspect that when an Amish buggy driver cuts off another Amish buggy, he'll see a familiar threatening gesture.

 

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