The everyday realities of our life take us into the odyssey to infinite wonders. They can enter our being into many ways from dark silhouettes to the exalted light. During 90's walks into the refreshing days would have the fragrances of 'meditative scents'. There was a scene of enrapturing mosaics flipping across in every pattern with 'flashes of divinity’. Everything signified a song, rhythm and a lyrical form of lived space. The butterflies whispering in their notes of mellifluous fluffs and birds tweeting in the peak of a day. Wondering a bird in the heat of a sun, it was a like a 'conference of birds' with secrets muttered in quid pro quid basis. We lived in the 'whole' vis-a-vis other sentient beings. Margaret Atwood in her novel The Blind Assassin (2000) writes, ‘Touch comes before sight, before speech. It is the first language and the last, and it always tells the truth’
The Traditional Touch
In all this symphony of sorts an old man walks in and looks deep into the skies and mumbling to himself 'it would rain tomorrow' and to all of my surprise it did. Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Prize winning Behavioural Psychologist says we all possess a 'statistical imagination’. I would go on further to say we have an intrinsic familiarity of ‘spatial imagination’ as how the place would behave from the weather to the political events. Pause. I could see the certitude and the exactness that ‘science’ pivots around complemented by the medium of ‘method’. I wanted to know that method of what Greeks called 'tekhnè'. The old man would then just hum around in a wavy fashion and in a way I could sense him saying in a cruder stance ‘it's all there’. For a moment I found myself in the Athenian soil, as everything that moved or was unmoved was to be felt, observed and made into a structure of simplification with the omniscient sense of perceiving reality. This is not over yet. I could find the quantified reason which forms the basis of experimental reason when the man went on to predict the exact time and the intensity of rainfall as well. Hold on, reason can stretch to the limit of 'knowns' or the 'boundary conditions' as Neumann would call it, this man's intuitive brilliance dived into the realm of 'unknown known'. The 'Touch' being one of the Aristotle's big five senses was being served and felt everywhere with more of an empathetic and heartfelt touch of grace and warmth. Many things may have been hired but the sense of touch was highly embedded in the social lexicon. The old man is rather a contemplative slide of history we lived in .Well can 'senses' define the course of history.
The Radical Touch
As we have been reading or hearing about the apothegms of conscious collectives shaping the societies. A slight parallel between a tweet and the physicality of demanding something just and fair is visible and obvious. Touch has always been the paradigm of revolutionary or the effective means of expressing the tales of the time that mostly have been the baits of political control. The 'touch' being the representative of the five senses here forms the concoction of myriad feelings we feel ourselves in. Then there is a new tide of ‘representative consciousness’ wherein a young lad from the contemporary times pitches in. He mostly rents his reason for the medium which is mostly seen as the nemesis of 'touch'. From having the eatables to breathing there is no immersive experience of being in the moment. The mismatch starts with the rather delirious mode of his existential forays generally observed during a dinner being well unaware of whether washing his hand or not.Thus starts the main part of the story which has become a sort of household pathos. He is engrossed into his screen and thinking of having the platter readied before him. The twist begins when her mother takes away the platter and he still thinks it’s there while being hooked to his phone .This is the 'condition' of post media age wherein we feel things are there when they are actually not. I remember watching the Movie 'Eternal Sunshine of Spotless Mind' , a techno-psychological thriller dealing with existential angst and the intentional weeding out of bad memories from the brain and inserting the new supposedly good one's. Can we be there as the apprehensions have always turned reality in the spectres of technological upgrades. We felt there would not be any plastic surgery thing but it has become way 'old' in the trend of contactless society we are heading to. The dexterity of the old man and the dystopian predilections of the young man in the world of reason surely encapsulate the ethical and somewhat emancipative coda of 'Life'.
Living a life is having 'sense' just like the river having tributaries that feed its waters .When the senses start to decay or are in the brink of drying out, there would be a drought that can rob away the people of their heart/feelers and the remains would be a machine. Touch is the existence and can turn out to be the demise as well. Even creation itself was an epiphany of divine touch of demonstrative essence.
Politics of Touch
The debates of affect versus the reason in the fractured scenes of political landscape are the fallout of dissociation of 'touch' from the frontiers of propositional order. The touch is the link that binds them both in nuanced and more definite pathways. Is the touch being taken away from the people to legitimise the ‘obedience’ or suppression of the masses? In a way the signatures and the trends hint towards that. There emerges a weaponization of touch when using the deep measures of perception-analytics into the workings of authoritarian structures across the world. The touch has got some geo-political recognition too transcending boundaries as somewhat familiar symbolism can be witnessed during the course of diplomatic exchanges.
Renaissance of Touch
Then the great reset of pandemic that sent the shockwaves across the geographies of world and we began to resuscitate the relevance of 'touch' in our lives. The sensory arteries of our existence were the lack that were realised in the times of our quarantined 'existence'. Touch is the social glue that acts as the connexion for the social interaction.
We live in a world of ‘contactless existence’ wherein emotional rides are hard to regulate and navigate through. It’s time to de-centre ourselves from the hazards of 'technological self' to the soulful abode of a 'transformative self'. The wonders of touch are the marvels of our human story in the form of creation, exploration, revolution and simultaneously can be a reason for decadence if not valued. Now is the time to reclaim this higher sensory experience as we are all the ‘creatures of touch’.