The need to touch

Laura Crucianelli, ‘The need to touch – The language of touch binds our minds and bodies to the broader social world. What happens when touch becomes taboo?’, https://aeon.co/essays/touch-is-a-language-we-cannot-afford-to-forget, Aeon Media Group (bezocht op 26 October 2020)

It is the first language and the last, and it always tells the truth. (…) While people suffering from COVID-19 can lose the sense of smell and taste, touch is the sense that has been diminished for almost all of us, test-positive or not, symptomatic or not, hospitalised or not. Touch is the sense that has paid the highest price. (…) What’s unique about touch, when set against the other senses, is its mutuality. (…) Touch really is the ultimate tool for social connection, and the good news is that we were born fully accessorised to make the most of it. (…) Science is now beginning to provide an account of why touch matters so much. (…) It seems that slow, social touch might act as a cue to pay particular attention to social stimuli, such as faces. (…) It’s not an exaggeration to talk of touch as a kind of language – one that we learn, like spoken language, through social interactions with our loved ones, from the earliest stages of our life. (…) The language of touch also affects the way that we relate to ourselves and our bodies across the lifespan, with profound impacts on our psychological wellbeing. (…) We lose a lot by depriving ourselves of touch. We deprive ourselves of one of the most sophisticated languages we speak; we lose opportunities to build new relationships; we might even weaken existing ones.