"...Sass is a clinical psychologist who finds emphasis in modern philosophy on detachment from the body to be dangerously solipsistic. Indeed, this is one of the great ironies of the Cartesian quest for certainty, as Kierkegaard's lament implies: the more distant mind from body, the more delusional we become and the less able to find our way back home into existence..."
-"Eroctic Morality: The Role of Touch in Moral Agency" - by Linda Holler
I so believe this. I really do. I think of Eric's rememberances of his homeless days: "Of *course* you believed animals spoke to you. Someone had to." I feel part of what I'm doing is making sure he's aware of his skin and also encouraging empathy. It makes sense to me that someone who is so detached and sees all other human beings as "other" has an easier time of the handy work if they have a voice telling them to kill, to maim or to dismember someone. It makes sense that those we most avoid have the least insight into the fact that the other fleshy objects walking around are human beings. To someone who is cut off, those things moving around aren't feeling, thinking, sentient -- like me. Solipsism has its place if one is aware of it. When it's not under control, it *is* dangerous.
I get more and more delusional each day. I also, however, want to be the one to lay down the parameters for how I'm touched. I think what lubricates useful interaction is a balance between the sense of self and the sense of respect for other. How do respect another if you can't feel them?
It's funny that in blackfolk today, there was a whole tirade about touching when you're out at the club. In general, in my particular Black family, we can be cooped up like rabbits. There were six of us kids. I still sleep with my mom if there's no room anywhere else. Out in the world, that's a different story. I have a special seat on the bus. I sit in the single handicapped/elderly seat at the end of that short row of seats that have their backs flush against the outer walls of the bus -- just before the start of the rows of seats on each side of the aisle facing forward. I sit in that seat so I don't have to sit next to anyone else. I'm very self-conscious. And I wanted to smash the woman who took my chair. I shrank my body as small as I could as I pressed myself against the window in the first row facing forward. I sent out icky vibes as strong as I could so no one would sit next to me.
I don't know what this has to do with it, but I had the following conversation yesterday:
Eric: If you didn't know me, would you think I was disabled?
Me: Well. I think so.
Eric: What if I were clean and had new clothes?
Me: I still think I'd notice something.
Eric: Is it bad? Do I seem sad yet nice?
Me: No. Not bad. I think I could tell. Yes, I think even cleaned you would look sad but nice.
I have to get back to work. That's my tirade on touch.