Albert Maslar / August 23, 2013

Thumb-thing to Think About

No one thinks much about it, but what good is the insignificant thumb? For all the younger set, try tweeting without use of the thumb. Not really ideal? Where would Apple and Steve Jobs’ iPhone be without “insignificant” opposable thumbs?

Without using the thumb, try buttoning, unbuttoning, zipping, picking up objects from the floor or anywhere, using the computer mouse, writing, turning pages of books or newspapers, threading needles, or a host of other functions; not too easy without using the thumb, is it?

Many animal species do not have opposable thumbs that transform the hand into a useful tool, and those that do lack brainpower to put opposable thumbs to good use for progress. In the human condition, it results in emulation of the hand and thumb in creation of tools and robotic devices, playing a significant role in advance of mechanical and construction technology.

The defining trait separating humans from the animals is an opposable thumb combined with innate intelligence. Without opposable thumbs humans might never have attained the highly civilized, sophisticated, technological advances, and associated lifestyles of modern times. Opposable thumbs are required for efficient gripping of objects as well as performing fine manipulation upon them.

Writing is the singular human activity that drove most other advances and development, and without the thumb, it is doubtful that writing would have developed as a thumb is indispensable to the art of writing and the accompanying recording information and history for posterity needed to serve as a basis for further growth and development. Arts, painting, sculpture, literature, and music would be non-existent without the insignificant appendage called the thumb.

The importance of the thumb was apparent in the Roman Empire as it was used to determine if gladiators should live or die; “Thumbs Up” to live, or “Thumbs Down” for death. Thumbs up is sign language for everything is okay or a vote in favor, while thumbs down is not okay or a negative vote.

THUMB-thing to think about is the “Rule of Thumb,” a rough non-scientific estimation generally based on anecdotal evidence rather than on exact measurement. To thumb one’s nose is to look with disfavor or dislike at someone or something, or to refuse to obey.

The big toe, great toe, in its own way seeks not to be neglected as it is necessary for properly walking and balancing. Try walking with a sore stubbed toe to appreciate its use and value. The big toe is somewhat related to the Achilles Heel, a weak or vulnerable factor that has brought down the strong and mighty, and shortened careers of many an athlete.

Then there is foot and mouth disease and the conventional wisdom version is someone that with their less-than-thoughtful statements put their foot in their mouth – a malady common to politicians.

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