Posts Tagged ‘Essay’

Touch (2009)

Sunday, April 17th, 2016

I wrote this in TAFE, and according to the date on the file it’s from October 2009. Stumbled upon it when tidying up my computer (preparing for Linux D:) and quite like it! I remember writing it in a bit a bit of a frenzy, just getting it done before the last minute it was due. I remember holding and fiddling with something small in my hand (a pen lid? that little red dinosaur I used to have on my keyring?), and writing then removing a post-conclusion based around that.

The senses are the tools organisms evolve to give themselves an understanding of the world around them.

The dominant sense, by a long margin if we measure by our cultural output, is sight. Regard television, the Internet, advertising, the emphasis on the visual facet of architecture, cinema, Youtube, fashion, the written word, and so-on. Secondary is the sense of hearing: Music, spoken language, police sirens. The other three—taste, smell, and touch—are relegated to acting as support senses. Probably, non-coincidentally, because they are the slower of the senses.

Of course, to expect to understand a sense in isolation of the others is against their function. The written word is more powerful when we hold a book in our hand. We have more than one sense because we need more than one sense. They are primarily a preservation mechanism. They are able to act as failsafe to each other. We can smell rotten meat before we can see it; our ears become primary in the dark. The system has evolved to cover its own arse, like any pre-modern engineer, or builder will tell you a system should do.

Touch, in fact, is not even a product of evolution. It is present even in single-celled organisms1. Touch is the point from which the other senses emerge, and is still existent in their function.

Touch is the first sense we develop, in utero. It is comforting and submissive; and also dominating and discomforting.