Graphic Pressure


As always, in order to understand the symbolic meaning of an action, we should first recall the sequence necessary to carry out the act itself, and therefore differentiate the individual quantitative differences, in excess or lack, and qualitative differences, searching for specific ways to carry it out.
To press the tip of a pen on a paper sheet is a necessary action, as –without pressure-there is not enough friction to allow the ink to flow. If using a ballpoint-pen, the effort made becomes measurable by means of the color intensity and the width of the graphic trace, in addition to the depth of the encarved trace visible on the back of the sheet. Felt-tip pens, on the contrary, do not create any trace nor different color hues, nor, above all, show a different thickness of the trace.
Pressure remains, however, one of the graphic dimensions most difficult to be assessed, because it is clear that the objective data above mentioned (depth of the carving, width of the trace and color intensity) can be expressed fully only if the graphic movement is led through a soft enough surface, as handwriting on a notepad or an exercise book can be. If writing is traced on a surface unable to absorb the pressure (i.e., on a single sheet lying on a rigid surface) it is clear that an assessment of the real pressure exerted will not be possible.
In addition to the objective problems about assessing this characteristic, it should be specified that handwriting pressure is not easily understood from a psychological viewpoint either, as it follows personality along its different development lines and strongly highlights possible emotional conflicts in action.
In short, from an analogy viewpoint we could say that the pressure exerted by a writing hand is tightly related to the need of showing material evidence, felt by the personality as necessary to itself.
According to this key, an essentially light pressure (Filiform sign) indicates that personality needs to avoid, as much as possible, conflicts on a material plan, as it is more interested in subtle energy movements.

  • Filiform handwriting
    Handwriting sample: filiform

An essentially marked pressure (Heavy sign) indicates a direct proneness of personality to look for a strong rooting onto the physical world, so that what is felt and what is wanted can find a visible external positive feedback, namely a realization in the material plan, as the individual is endowed with strength enough to act in the world and he/she likes to exert it.

  • Heavy handwriting
    Handwriting sample: heavy

The extreme examples reported above recall the difficulties which can emerge in trying to keep optimal functional values of pressure: the correct amount of pressure of the pen tip on a sheet is an action learned through a long training aimed to obtain a right modulation in physical strength, to have an easily readable trace, i.e. not too evanescent; however, if the hand pushes too hard, as it usually happens at the early stages of school learning, the exceeding friction slows down the fluidity, as the pen tip is planted on the sheet instead of flowing, leading to excessive tiredness.
In addition to these extreme variations pertaining the quantitative field (Filiform and Heavy), in handwriting we are to consider the qualitative variations internal to the movement itself: a handwriting can either essentially tend to a homogeneous pressure (even pressure through the whole graphic trace) or can show variations of different nature and homogeneously/non-homogeneously spread.
More specifically, Moretti studied two kinds of pressure variations internal to the individual graphic movement: the first, a variation due to an ascending line more filiform than the more marked descending line (Off-and-on carved I sign), which he related to a disposition to independency and leadership, and, second, a variation due to sudden pressure changes (Off-and-on carved II sign) he related to emotionality.

  • Handwriting Off-and-on carved I
    Handwriting sample: off-and-on carved
  • Handwriting Off-and-on carved II
    Handwriting sample: off-and-on carved

As mentioned already, pressure does not always represent an ever-steady value in the path of an individual’s life, because it is a marker directly reflecting possible emotional conflicts in action. In fact, it is well-known that physical strength can be employed by personality to a defensive purpose whenever it feels attacked by external agents; but an analogous reaction occurs whenever an exceeding inner pressure affects it. This sensation-i.e., the inner world pressing too hard-as it insistently suggests the integration of removed contents, it is perceived as an attack to stability, thus requiring defence. Therefore, physical strength is exerted on the self, in order to stop parts of the self willing to emerge, more or less violently, depending on the extent of the remotion performed.
Thus, possible individual variations in pressure showing in time should be seen also in the light of this dynamics: whenever a very marked trace is patent, personality is possibly trying to defend itself against disowned parts of the Self; on the other hand, whenever a handwriting is very filiform, except for the case of physical weakness due to an ongoing disease, it may represent a marker for evasion: personality withdraws from a material world it feels ill-suited to, and, finally, it fears.
Pressure expresses the basic contradiction of life: spirit/matter; intuition/rationality; energetic evidence/material evidence. A highly intriguing duality, accounting for torture and contradictions the soul faces along its evolutionary path through mind, body, emotions and spirit.

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