To the infant, touch is everything (Touch 3)

Friday, 22. March 2013

To the infant, touch is everything until other forms of consciousness distract it. To the young person, life is so exciting, such a game, such a fantasy, that touch is soon taken for granted. It is a sad paradox, one of many we all face, that while we are blessed with and overwhelming capacity for richness of feeling, then we tend to barely notice it.

Our early erotic experiences are largely non-conscious. Our teen and twenties erotica journeys are rushed and not savoured, generally speaking. By the time we are losing the sparkle, only then do we begin to become gourmets of sensation.

Then, as old age withers everything and buries it under aches, pains, disease and the growing terror of dying, then there is enough going on to simply drown out the gifts of touch. With drugs that kill the pain, preferably, the physical and emotional pain of our accumulated and unfulfilled lives.

Some people, however, are born blighted by illness and their early lives are all too physically rich in the wrong way: in terms of limitation, discomfort, pain and despair (one of the mental states with immediate physical repercussions). Many people are progressively assaulted by mental anguish strong enough to cause physical symptoms or actual illness that tears apart their bubble of complacency. Result in either case: pain, leading to painkillers, leading to welcome loss of sensation, leading to the richness of touch fading from now into memory. That’s how strong it is, the impact of our diseased civilisation; it takes away from us, one way or another, the explosive, magical richness of sensation that could be present in every moment were we to allow it to impact us that much.

It’s not just that the story of our life creates the wrong attitudes at the wrong time, as when the young are too preoccupied to savour touch, too unrefined to taste the difference between junk experience and living; it is also that the leaders of our mad societies and idiotic cultural heritages and religions have had time to notice that if you suppress pleasure you control the masses. They’ve had plenty of time to refine the techniques of control through several iteration from violent tribalism, through fantastical salvationism to rampant consumerism… if they can scare you and then allow a small amount of pleasure to dribble into your life, like a dog wanting treats and learning new tricks for those treats, then they achieve the most perfect infantilisation of your behaviour so that you obey and conform without even noticing that you are doing it.

The whole thing usually starts with toilet training and follows directly into obedience, enforced by a degree of longing for love, trust and decency, which in fact your parents can never satisfy because they’re too busy living their own nightmares and pretending that everything’s OK. Their angst destabilises the world of their children and the easiest way to stick a bandage over the wounds is by having a culture to conform to, a religion and some behaviours and tribal affiliations. That compound, properly managed, can allow people to believe they are happy as can be, which is why its hold has been so strong since the earliest civilisations.

Freedom and stuff, that just creates misery. We’d be happier if we could turn back the clock to about 1700 when God ruled and everything was His will, when the Lord was in his castle and the peasants knew their place.

Now the virus is out of the bottle and has infected everyone, the disease of individualism that is too half-baked to succeed. We can managed a little scientific and social progress; we can cope with being apparently sophisticated. But there is no one, anywhere, ever, who can go the whole journey with the truth, the whole truth, the painful, destabilising pilgrim’s journey that tears down complacency and replaces it with chaos. That is where we need to go to recover our touch on the world, to evolve into decency, to give up the Me world in favour of the Us world.

Do not be deceived by winners who appear to master the world… They can all too easily commit suicide in their fancy apartments, take cocaine on their yachts that are no longer quite special enough, fear for the loss of one of their billions or revolutions that will dispossess them of some of their power or wealth. The movie star lives in dread of a time when they are no longer needed or recognised. The beautiful woman knows that she will age and lose her powers. The man who does not scramble his way right to the top will feel inadequate, even he does actually make it; he will live in fear of being deposed or bested or beaten in bed by his wife’s lover the tennis coach… Read your Shakespeare: Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing…. Enter a Messenger

No one gets to just enjoy life. No one gets to touch it healthily and be touched by its marvellous gifts, in gratitude, in awe, in the bliss which could be… And that means no one at all, not ever… no guru, no method, no teacher, really. You can find a refuge in belief of some kind, as most people do, in some complex collection of memes, affiliations, explanations and ideologies; you can believe you have life by the tail or by the throat, but you never can. Reality always hits back, at every one of us. There is no escape from this destiny. Not yet.

One Response to “To the infant, touch is everything (Touch 3)”

  1. ktln Says:

    You cover a lot of ground here. It’s timing not Time itself, that can cheat us, sure enough, though may we all not live in too interesting a time. Maiden, mother, crone, I’m fifty next month, I’m getting there. My mother, who is 72, remarked to me not long ago, that beauty is a curse. I would say, more a precious bane. God help the person, man or woman, who has invested too heavily in it, especially sexual beauty, at the expense of other things, but beauty beyond that is in the movement and expression of a face, and in its repose, when it supposes itself unobserved, and in time the truth or lie of a beauty will out.
    Fires of Infancy. I was told a story of myself aged four. We had a neighbour, a Col Ginger Stride, and she had just arrived home from barracks. I leaned out of a downstairs window as she was getting out of the car.
    ‘Ginger, Ginger, come play with me!’
    ‘I’m sorry Katie-Pig. I can’t come and play right now.’
    ‘Oh, please, please, Ginger, do come in and play with me!’
    ‘I can’t, darling. Another time.’
    I then said, if you’ll pardon the language.
    ‘Well, Ginger, you’re a fucking JESUS!’
    And I shut the window. My stepfather heard this and told my mother who went straight round to apologize, tapped and went in to find Ginger lying on a sofa, screaming with laughter, howling that never in 30 years of training squaddies, had she been called a ‘fucking Jesus’, and what was one of those, anyway? I’ve no idea, but this reaction probably indicates why we liked her so much.
    What a naughty girl, what a fit of small passion. Tarot imagery uses Fire as the symbol for Life itself, the primal spark, the ultimate Ace. Can an inner fire ever really be doused, or does it run along underground, maybe for years and miles, and suddenly ignite somewhere else, marsh gas, flames on a soggy bog.

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