2. The altruistic movement: the Curved sign

According to the definition given by Moretti, «Curved handwriting is that which in the a‘s, o‘s and their derivatives proceed smoothly, without stopping, in other words without angles. The more roundness this sign has, the greater the degree». (7) As we see, the first necessary condition for the sign is the absence of arresting indicators in the extroversive movement, and only later is the concept of roundness emphasised. It is a psychological subtlety that explains why the Curved sign is mainly attributed the tendency towards altruism: the personality spontaneously adheres to the feelings of others, and therefore to the demands and needs that they have, when it allows a relationship movement without any form of friction or abrupt reactions and free from all hesitations deriving from anxiety or fear. Angles, especially when they are frequent and intense, are directly opposed to the curved movement, while markings, stumbles, stopping points and intervals check sentiment in its adhesion movement. Besides focusing on any indicators of arrest, we arrive at a first estimate of the Curved sign by evaluating the overall roundness of the writing.

Fig. 3 – Mainly Curved writing: Giuseppe Prezzolini

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It should immediately be noted that, while strictly applying the two criteria, what we obtain is only a temporary and preliminary evaluation of the sign, since the Curved sign is complex in its interpretation making it sign one of the most difficult signs to quantity and interpret correctly, unlike the Angular sign. And here we try to understand where these difficulties arise.

Starting from the fact that as far as the psychological interpretation of the Curved sign is concerned, we are faced with a tendency that revolves around two basic meanings: adaptability and altruism. This is because the Curved sign indicates that the personality favours the overall intuitive approach as it seeks a meeting using a movement that goes around, thus preserving the integrity of the entity it relates with; while avoiding approaches that are too direct or sectional as they do not meet its knowledge methods. This tendency of sentiment underlines the need not to attack obstacles, but rather to go around them so that it is always possible to avoid clean breaking and opposing movements.

So far this is a description of the neutral curved movement that shows an emotional and mental way forward but does not make any value judgements on it.

However, when the Curved sign increases in intensity it takes on a progressively negative connotation precisely because, by favouring all those behavioural methods aimed at taking another’s point of view into account and assimilating it until the personality adapts itself to the other’s perspective, making the perception of Self (seen as an autonomous, personal and independent system, able to implement effective breaking actions, if necessary) even more indistinct. Moreover, the perception of Self as a system characterised by a single (adaptable) movement creates a feeling of helplessness since the personality feels it is only capable of actions that lead it to surrender «altruistically», in a movement which is not free but coercive.

Lastly, the interpretation must take into account the fact that if the Curved sign, as one of two psychic opposites necessary for life, becomes very high it makes the personality entirely devoid of the actualisation force linked to the angle; therefore, the meaning will never be that of active altruism.

In general, Curved writing, if it meets the requirements of spontaneity and roundness, is an indication of tenderness of heart and a disposition towards compassion, which manifests itself as «kindness, altruism, working hard for the good of others» (8), «a social and socialised tendency», (9) «since the individual has a tendency towards extroversion principally with its intelligence and feelings». (10) The tendency towards altruism is understood in a very realistic sense «as the drive to satisfy the aspirations, demands and desires of others» (11), which does not, however, require the same level of ability to remove obstacles, because «the altruist, as such, tends towards debauchery». (12)

As the degree of graphic roundness increases gradually, the predominance of the adaptive nature can lead progressively to surrender, impersonal adjustment, lack of commitment, disregard for the rights of the Self through inaction or «sloth», defined by Moretti as «nothing more than egoism marked by not wanting to inconvenience itself to put things right». (13) To get to this level, however, the Curved sign must occur in association with a graphic slowing down (Slow sign). This particular combination reflects negatively on all levels of the personality, including mental and emotional levels, since by increasing passivity it leads to a disturbing stillness of the system that affects sensitivity, the capacity for independent judgement, independence of thought, psychological understanding and even the powers of observation. This disengagement inevitably leads to a blurry and indistinct focus, especially when taking into account the fact that seeing problems also entails the unfortunate consequence of have to do something to solve them; while a very curved personality recognises that it does not have the resources to do so. In this sense Moretti talks about «placidity and sloth that may result in neurotic blindness». (14)

Fig. 4 – Slow/Curved writing

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Aware of being faced with one of the most challenging signs of his whole graphological system, in his Trattato Moretti devotes a great deal of space to the correct interpretation of the curved movement, warning the reader about all the factors that may interfere with the application of its principal meaning, namely altruism.

To measure the degree of Curve, we start from a hypothetical value of 10/10, which indicates rounded handwriting without any angles, markings or other indicator of arrest or slowing down, because these decrease the tendency to adapt. Since Angular is the opposite of the Curved movement, it takes away in proportion to its occurrence, which will be clearer when we move on to the measurement criteria; while the slowing down indicators are assessed according to their intensity, the meaning of the movement they express and the particular synergy that results. Therefore, it is a sign which is not easy to measure because before commenting on it we need to know all the graphological signs that may facilitate or hinder it in some way. In fact not all Curved writings are writings of selflessness or surrender and this is because signs of precautionary defence other than the angle exist, and it is extremely important for the graphologist to know how to recognise them in order to arrive at a correct evaluation of the altruistic/egoistic sentiment.

In short, the psychological significance of the Curved sign is the result of the following lines of research:

1. measurement of the roundness of the writing, which is inversely proportional to the number of angles, markings and breaks of various kinds present in the handwriting;

2. evaluation of the specific input given by all the other signs present in the handwriting, which can support the altruistic opening movement (e.g. Sinuous, Rushing, Right Bent Extensions) or hinder it because they belong to the psychological meaning of care and defence of the Self (e.g. Pondered, Stable on the Line, Straight Extensions).

Fig. 5 – The altruistic (Curved) movement curbed by other signs (Accurate, Narrow spacing between letters, Backward Slant)

Fig. 6 – The altruistic (Curved) movement strengthened by other signs (Large spacing between letters, Rushing)

As Moretti says, «the true Curve, psychologically speaking, does not exist and one can graphologically disregard it … We assign the Curve sign and we consider it graphologically in order to facilitate the evolution or the practical application of Graphology, as we understand things better by fixing opposites, although one of them does not occur in reality. And this is precisely because we consider them in their dynamic part and not in their mere static position». (15) Therefore, in order to fully understand the Curved sign it is necessary to introduce its psychic opposite, namely the Angular sign.