For thousands of years, people believed that the lines etched into the palms of their hands could predict their future. The ancient Hindu art of palm reading claimed that a sound knowledge of the hand could reveal not only what kind of human you were, but also other knowledge such as when you may well end.
Like many other universe beliefs, it's tempting to wonder if palm reading contains a kernel of truth; that the ancients somehow intuited the workings of nature revealed today by natural sciences.
Fingerprints… and medical palmistry?
The palm now exemplified the complexities of natural selection in evolution. The minute grooves and ridges – the arches, whorls, and lines – were also significant in indicating the individuality of each human.
Dermatoglyphics emerged in the early twentieth century, attempting to correlate the various features of the hand with specific medical conditions. This foray into clinical medicine was only partially successful. The various shapes, distortions, and patterns of the hand can detect a variety of illnesses, both mental and physical, including a variety of vascular conditions and a few birth defects. However, genetics has now exponentially surpassed the diagnostic potential of dermatoglyphic, as it has many other older clinical medicine methods.
Even so, those older ways of knowing the world that was fostered in ancient worlds refused to perish. Palmistry, like other forms of divination such as astrology, remained increasingly successful.
The Awakening, with its emphasis on rationalism over superstition, failed to put an end to palm reading. Mystics continue to thrive in sideshow tents and seaside shops, peddling their wares to the many who believe that “there is more in heaven and earth than is dreamt of” in science's belief system.
Palmistry, like astrology or homeopathy, now serves as a critique of scientific reductionism, implying that there is a metaphysical world beyond discoverable matter.
Enough that, how does this older way of knowing fare under the scrutiny of the documentary makers and their attempt to build experiments to test the plausibility of palm reading?