Eszter Miriam Rozslay: Tactility is the source of life
We can divide the human perceptual system into five major units. We got achingly far from the experience of unity. If we have a look at the definitions of the concept of utility, we see that today we mean a part of an integer delimited on the basis of some predetermined criterion: we divide it into utility. Isn’t it crazy?
perception_5. It is obvious that till this time at least 4 meetings had already taken place on the topic of perception. So we still have this tactility, perception 5.
perception 5? Perception 5 is tactility. The 5th???
Thanks to science, now we not only know, but they have proven, that tactility comes first. The first experiences of every human being are tactile, as the touch develops at about the 16th week of pregnancy and it is constantly evolving during our whole life. Touch is essential for physical, cognitive and language abilities, social and emotional development. The skin, as the outer limit of our physical body, is designed to absorb tactile stimuli. Our skin provides us with a wide variety of information about ourselves and our external environment every minute of the day, from the cold of winter, to the heat of the fire, from the uncomfortable chair to the prickly sweater or about the sneaking lurking LEGO double in the dark room.
Tactility is the sense which is always active, never rests. It works even when by our old age all of our other senses are weakened or even lost. A person needs tactile experiences at every stage of his/her life, the touch of
another person. Our reactions to stimuli on our skin, our touch-related and touch-induced emotions determine our quality of life, so touch is not only physical feeling.
Physical contacts and their manifold effects are inevitable in human interactions. Parts of culture; emotional expressions have been created over time, nonverbal elements of communication. They are conspicuous in our language twists such as social contact, warm handshake, approvingly slap somebody on the back, helping hand, healing hug, hot kiss, cruel backlash . Just as the absence of a hug, a kiss, a handshake has an important message also. (This is one of the reasons why “neglect” is now being a reckon among a form of abuse.)
The power of touch, as well as its prominence on the spiritual plane of human life, is evidenced by the fact that touch healings can be found in cave paintings, papyrus scrolls, and in the Bible, Jesus heals patients with the touch of his hands in many cases.
And every human life begins with a touch. It is a fact that sexual habits differ from time to time and culture, and the perception of sexuality is different, but I am absolutely certain that sexual intercourse without touch and contact has not taken place in the last millennials or nowadays. One of the outcomes of the activity is none other than the descendant. For me, this in itself is a compelling enough argument to consider tactility as a source of life.
Zsigmond Móricz wrote, “Who is not being caressed, his soul dries up.” Although the substantive truth of this statement was not scientifically proven until only decades later, it has arguably succeeded in capturing the plane of tactility that I consider as the most important one.
How beautifully this is expressed by our word ‘touch’, which means both physical contact and mental vibration. I don’t think it’s a coincidence…
The quantity and quality of our tactile experiences affect our entire lives; it has an elementary influence on our individual development, our relationship with ourselves and the world, our health, our well-being. Yet touch, especially non-sexual touch, is becoming rarer, and people apparently seeing their lives increasingly bleaker, more burnt out, and they are producing more and more physical and mental illness.
Whether we need to view tactility once as a victim of development, maybe we need to revise our definitions in the future, or just rediscover it, recognize the value of touch, and find a way of life in where our individual needs of tactile experiences are available? I do not know.
However, I see that while our attitudes toward tactility are insanely diverse and, – like everything else – , they are constantly changing, one way or another, we are all involved in the two-way street of touch.