Friday, January 14, 2011

Stationery Determinism

Stationery Determinism!

If you're a Social Scientist, now may be a good time to look away. I'm about to commit two sins; to expound a deterministic theory and to make a mockery of neuroscience.

Firstly, clasp both of your hands together so that the fingers interlock and one thumb rests on top of the other. This is an old trick which tells us which side of your brain is 'dominant'. I imagine it's largely outdated by now - i wouldn't dare seriously suggest that the complexity of 10 billion neurons can be resolved by putting your hands together - but its easy.

Tombow Rollerball Pens!

If your right thumb rests on top, you are left-brain me. You're supposed to be analytical (in my case, analytical is a euphemism for seriously uncreative). If your left thumb rests on top you are right brain dominant and thus, a loose thinking creative genius.

Plain Paper - it can be quite stressful!

Now, i don't really buy this but i think it may provide some (much needed) anecdotal evidence to support my latest (purely analytical, of course) thought - Stationery Determinism. There is an idea in linguistics which is now a great target for derision called linguistic determinism...that our thoughts are determined by the lexicon available to express them. Whilst that may be poppycock, I and several others (like Nietzsche who said "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts") are willing to say that our thoughts are determined by the stationery on which they are written.


Yesterday i ditched my grid-paper pad for a plain paper pad...there was no structure there, i got lost...i'm not free thinking enough to survive without some kind of framework...needless to say, i spent most of the day on the cusp of action without ever thinking what i had to do next...i was all over the place! You probably love a plain paper pad if your left thumb ends up on top, you listen to Miles Davis and think the city of Amsterdam is draconian, but i end up in the foetal position.

Lined Paper to some, Authoritarianism to others.

Likewise, you may hate a ruled paper pad...those stupid lines, the 'Narcs' to your Summer of Love. The point is that you need to choose your stationery well, it has to suit you or else you won't know what you're doing! Companies needn't look to their HR department to see better productivity, they just need to re-stock their stationery cupboard.

G Lalo Cards & Envelopes

Along the same lines, if i gave you some beautiful G Lalo Letter Writing Paper or a Correspondence Set, i can almost guarantee that you would write more slowly and carefully, you would probably use more 'proper' english, you certainly wouldn't dare to carelessly split your infinitives (see!...this is a blog post, so i'm being very loose right now). So if you do ever have to write anything where you want to impress, for heaven's sake get the right stationery!

Good for impressing!

Our poor brains are very busy, they have a lot on their mind...don't give them needless battles to fight by writing on or with the wrong stationery. If you need help finding the right stationery, we have this cool finder page and plenty of time, so get in touch! Otherwise, unclasp your hands and enjoy the weekend!


  1. Haha very interesting article!

  2. This really amuses me and I can *so* relate to it.

    After growing up in Australia with lined pads, I went on an exchange year to Germany in 1989 and encountered grid-paper for the first time. I had to use it for every subject at school - it was just standard issue.

    Now I've started blogging, I actually seek out unlined notebooks as I feel I can be freer and more expressive in them when jotting down my thoughts. Oh, and er, yes, my left thumb was on top!

    On a separate note, I do wish I knew your name. Please 'come out' - I love your humour and witty perspective!

  3. Hi Jane

    Thanks for reading! I know heaps of grid paper converts and i can't help but think our standard issue of lined paper is a bit bland...we don't know what we're missing out on!

    And thanks for the kind words - my name is Mark, but i don't do every post here at Field notes...there are a few of us who like to contribute from time to time.