The price of human touch? (thought essay)

   There is something to be said for human touch. A power that should be recognized. No matter what advances in technology or improvements in communication that brings the reality of actually speaking to a person face to face closer to actualization, take skype for example, there is always an element of the intimite missing. There is nothing that can replace a hug, just the contact. Studies by many, though rather clearly compiled in an article by S. Ferber, have outlined that this necessity for human contact is present in all, though for infants the repercussions of touch deprivation is most clearly evident. I for one, on a trip to an orphanage in Jamaica called 'The Robin's Nest' saw children who have been denied this essential, and some had even suffered stuning of growth. While often our choice of venues to help others will not be as drasticly outlined as the case I myself witnessed, it is important to keep in mind that there are many, many things not only that we do not need money to contribute, but that in fact money cannot buy. This is the reason that the medical profession is more than a flesh and blood orginization embodying a medicinal vending machine, there is more to this so called 'art of healing' than the proper dispension of prescription. This is also why missions are in place, for going in person and making that human connection with the people you are trying to help has a very different impact upon the receivee as oppossed to what would be imparted by simply sending a check.
This is not said in any way to downplay the amazing potential for change that money holds in nearly every situation encountered, but I strongly believe that the essential core of giving to others is rooted in the basis of what it means to be human. To care for eachother. While each person best recieves(or understands) and gives this caring or love in an individual manner, something common to every culture and individual is this neccessity of touch. The greatest image, or most understandable sense of comfort, love, and being cherished dwells in my memory of an embrace from my mother. For anyone who can remember, or has experienced this, you must follow; there is nothing quiete like your mother's hug, a perfection of fit that I swear has to be related to the fact that she once carried you in her womb. I think of it rather platonically... maybe my body knows where it came from, just like the soul has a sort of inbuilt homing instinct back to its source. I apologize for the lengthy segway but I do hope I was able to convey that our inbuilt desire, no need, to be loved often is tied to our memories of being loved by our mothers, and for me at least this is inextricably tied to the touch of a mother's embrace. Doesnt everyone long at times to return to that state of childhood where you have no worries, or fears, or unsolvable problems, simply because we know we are safe in the love of our parents? I think no matter what the issue needing rectification is, the act of solving it is half the battle. The other half is knowing that someone cared enough for you to try and solve it. Half of it is being told that you are worth the effort, being reassured, just as when you were a child, that everything will be ok. Or perhaps, as we are adults and absolutes no longer convince, that someone will try their best to make everything ok, and while this is impossible to ever truly express in words, I think the closest to wholly conveyeing this message I have ever come was through touch. The warmth of one human coming into contact with another. If you have seen the movie Crash, then think of the opening and closing statements where it speaks of humanity's  need being so prevalent that people actually will intentionally make fatal decisions just to experience this contact. 
There however is a point of consternation for my mind...and it comes down to the question of quality or quantity. It also addresses the distinction between material change and immaterial change, in otherwords that which influences a person's external reality (aka their environment) or one which may change someones internal state (lasting impression which may change someones heart or have spiritual impact).

So I suppose that it may actually all boil down to your veiw of the cosmos, of the greater reality... someone who believes that earthly actions have eternal significance will approach the question of delivering one's necessary civic duty in a drastically different way than someone who is more in line with a stoic or naturalistic orientation to the world.
So it is in this consideration that I would choose, when confronted with the question of whether it is necessary to offer direct service to the poor, that direct hpersonal contact cannot be bought. Writing checks may seem in the short term the answer, but one must try and consider the big picture. 
There is no price tag placed upon human touch.

No comments: