Tag Archives: Ayana Mathis novel the 12 tribes of Hattie

Is he good or bad?

Can you decide if someone is honest or dishonest, good or bad, right for your company or not just by looking at their palms?

I don’t think so.
Why not?

Humans make decisions based on totally unpredictable criteria that often have nothing to do with their character or personality. Beliefs, superstitions, values, family needs, a whim, a wager, flip of a coin, a personal debt, their self perception, another person’s influence….these are all decision making criteria not entirely linked to personality.

This is why hands, hand analysis, palmistry and also hand writing analysis, or any other personality assessment tool, which normally might be able to tell you quite a bit about a person, can never and should never be used to attempt to predict another person’s behavior. Or to try to determine honesty or dishonesty.

The way we make some vital decisions – to be good or bad or to give up on ourselves or not – is poignantly captured by Ayana Mathis in her novel the 12 tribes of Hattie.

One of her characters, Franklin, makes a life altering decision after guarding a beach all night where the rest of his platoon were planting land mines. At sunrise, as the platoon are leaving, a young Vietnamese boy and his grandfather are blown up as their boat reaches the shore. Franklin feels he should pay for what he’s just done. He wagers his future on whether he sees any evidence of the boy they’ve just blown up. If he sees a piece of the boy floating in the water towards them, he’ll give up alcohol for life. He doesn’t. And, as a result, gives up on himself totally.

This may be fiction but let’s get honest here. Haven’t you made some decisions on equally random criteria? The flip of a coin or whether a traffic light goes green in time? Or whether a jar opens or a fire lights? Or sign from nature?
I know I have.

Back to hands. Even if a hand looks hopeless. And the deck is stacked that this person is
a basket case, you can never tell whether or not a person has decided to act on his nature or to be good or bad.

A couple of years ago I asked Richard Unger his opinion on this and he agreed.

His argument?
Based on a person’s hand shape or palm markers you cannot say “This person will steal from you.” The best you could say is “If this person were to steal, this is how he would probably do it.”

A huge difference!

This is why the best use for hand analysis and other personality assessment tools is self inquiry and personal growth rather than an attempt to predict behavior. Continue reading