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Direction of lines

Generally speaking, being able to keep a straight-on-the line handwriting – without being supported by a line below – is, first of all, a sign of good health and sufficient physical strength.

Whenever such a capacity of keeping the writing movement horizontal is not present (depending either on lacking energy, or excessive enthusiasm/strength which lifts the writing above the virtual line), however, it is necessary to check the position of the paper sheet while writing; actually, some ascending or descending movements may be only apparent, when caused by an incorrect position of the underlying sheet.

When such a descending movement is real, the writer’s health condition should be assessed, as not perfect physical conditions, especially in case of old age, can be the cause of a descending – compared to the line – movement, which is certainly a psychological index, but limited to an involution stage of that specific personality.

A psychological analysis of handwriting focused on the base line studies the following movements:

  • The writing keeps horizontal and straight on the line, not ascending nor descending (graphological sign Stable on the Line)
    Fig. 1 – Stable on Line
    Handwriting: Stable on Line
  • The writing progressively rises from the virtual line (graphological sign Rising)
    Fig. 2 –  Rising
    Handwriting: Rising
  • The writing progressively descends compared to the virtual line and, in the elderly, often descends from the real line too (graphological sign Descending)
    Fig. 3 – Descending
    Handwriting: Descending

There are also other features which are important in a psychological analysis of the baseline keeping.

  • The handwriting essentially keeps straight on the line, in a sense that it starts and ends at the same height, but it snakes with an undulating up-and-down-the-line movement. Such feature belongs to one of the possible forms of the sign Hesitant.
    Fig. 4 – Hesitant on the Line
    Handwriting: Hesitant on the Line
  • The writing shows no homogeneity in keeping the line, that is, a line may be ascending and another one descending, a third one more or less horizontal: this is a feature hardly present in a normal context of social adaptation and individual development, as it is one of the possible indexes of an unstructured personality (eg. Alzheimer disease) or unstable structure of personality during childhood. Such feature, however, belongs to the sign Disorderly.
    Fig. 5 – Writing not homogeneous in keeping the line (Disorderly)
    Handwriting: Disorderly

Spontaneous handwritings, though showing some variability in keeping the baseline, are mostly writings which keep, more or less, a straight line, whilst descending writings are less common and much less common are ascending ones.
From this point of view, such a feature may appear very little interesting, as it is not very differentiating. However, the Morettian view is much more subtle, as it considers the specific way the writing keeps the line, comparing it to all the graphological indexes present in handwritings.

Generally speaking, the analogical interpretation rule is as follows: the integrated basic movement is the graphological sign Stable on the Line, a sign of individual psychic steadiness, that is, of the inner strength of the writer. It implies “a disposition to keep feelings invariable in their substance, without depriving them of their liveliness and richness: it is the foundation of constancy.” (Sc. 4-5)
This basic movement may be present with different importance, but it may also differentiate in two movements, different from itself: Rising on the Line represents excessive strength, that becomes enthusiasm, fervor which may imply a claim to knowledge, to action, to obtaining; Descending writing is a sign of lacking firmness caused by moral or physical weakness, therefore a disposition to despair, to become depressed when confronting troubles or effort.

Now, it is time to analyze in detail the psychological implications linked to the basic interpretation rule.

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