"the first language humans had was gestures. there was nothing primitive about this language that flowed from people's hands, nothing we say now that could not be said in an endless array of movements possible with the fine bones of the fingers and wrists. the gestures were complex and subtle, involving a delicasy of motion that has since been lost completely. during the Age of Silence, people communicated more, not less. basic survival demanded that the hands were almost neer still, and so it was only during sleep (and sometimes not even then) that people were not saying something or other. no distinction was made between gestured of language and gestures of life. the labor of building a house, say, or preparing a meal was no less an expression than making a the sign for 'i love you' or 'i feel serious'. ... if at large gatherings or parties, or around people with whom you feel distant, your hands sometimes hang awkwardly at the ends of your arms--if you find yourself at a loss for what to do with them, overcome with sadness that comes when you recognize the foreigness of your own body--it's because yout hands remember a time when the division between mind and body, brain and heart, what's inside and what's outside, was so much less. it's not that we've forgotten the language of gestures entirely. the habit of moving our hands while we speak is left over from it. clapping, pointing, giving the thumbs-up: all artifacts of ancient gestures. holding hands, for example, is a way to remember how it feels to say nothing together. and at night, when it's too dark to see, we find it necessary to gesture on each other's bodies to make ourselves understood."