As babies, we learn the importance of touch…the warmth of our parents reassures and protects us, while being held supersedes all else in our tiny, scary world. And if there’s any question as to how crucial touch is to our basic human survival, one need only remember the horrific “Baby Houses” of Romania in 1990—a cruel example of nature vs. nurture.
What does touch mean to you today…as an adult?
Before you get excited that this post is going — ahem, south — relax! We are only here to protest the hijacking of the word ‘TOUCH’ by none other than Apple (just google ‘touch’ and behold!). And it’s not just the word, but the sense itself. Even as we write this, the world is collectively licking its lips in anticipation of iphone5 and ipad3. Would we be this excited if these two devices were not touchscreen?
Are we so touchscreen-addicted that we’re dangerously falling out of touch with, well, touch?
Fact: the touchscreen phenomenon is diminishing our ability to appreciate the value of human touch. Human-to-machine interaction is so invasive, so pervasive, we must now retrain ourselves to appreciate human interaction. Crazy. More frighteningly, have we unknowingly rewired our brain with robotic expression to replace human emotion?
Every study suggests that our ‘social’ lives are being denied the human experience. Yet our investment and commitment seem to follow that of the virtual variety. This is not a case against social media, online dating or any other technological interaction. However, intimate (touch) relationships MUST be distinguished from and take precedence over strategic (social/virtual) ones.
Can you really get close to someone without getting close?
Virtual relationships are on-demand, flippant and can easily break down at even a hint of disenchantment. So why do we keep comin’ back for more?
According to The New York TImes’ Matt Richtel:
“When you check your information, when you get a buzz in your pocket, when you get a ring — you get what they call a dopamine squirt. You get a little rush of adrenaline,” he says. “Well, guess what happens in its absence? You feel bored. You’re conditioned by a neurological response: ‘Check me check me check me check me.’ “
How much longer will your touchscreen satisfy you?
Hmm. Maybe it’s time to reclaim your ‘touch.’
As the erudite Plato once mused: “Every heart sings a song, incomplete, until another heart whispers back. Those who wish to sing always find a song. At the touch of a lover, everyone becomes a poet.”
(Er, especially if they’re on Twitter).
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