I have been thinking a lot about touch lately,
and I would say it gets weirder the longer you
think, but that's not true
. It's weird to start
off with, and when you reach
the conclusion that there is no one single conclusion
to be reached
is what's weird.
The aspect of touch that I refer to specifically,
is started with a freakish interest in cold hands.
If you touch an inanimate object, there is
only one network of nerves the stimulus is sent through:
yours. It's one sensation. The desk isn't feeling
anything. The desk is not translating a nerve response
into a feeling. You put your hand down, and your brain
says "Hm, you say a hard, flat object? About level
with your hip? Must be a table."
When your hand is cold, put it on your warm knee or
arm. Your very own for this part. Your brain
will tell you 'cold hands'.
Right? Well, the truth is that there are actually
two separate sensations that your brain is
rapid-fire combining - (A) warm arm feels someting
something cold touching it and (B) cold hand
feels something warm under it. Again, one neural
system, but this time there are two separate
sensations. These two separate responses, incidentally,
are really hard to separate. Want to try? Concentrate on
your hand. Does it feel a solid warmth? Wait until it
does, and then shift to focus on your arm. Does it feel
the cold fingers? Shift back to the hand. For
some reason the sensation of 'there is something cold
touching me' is stronger in your arm than 'I am touching
something warm' in your hand.
This may interest you only mildly, (if at all), but
I find this fascinating for some bizarre reason:
Is it because your hands are too cold to feel properly?
I like to think that it's more than that. Is it
because your cold hands are numb? Is it because
cold is a more shocking sensation than warmth? Maybe
it's because the touch gives more to the touched than
it takes from the toucher. (That is so sappy) I
Touch someone else, and it's back to one sensation
again. Only this time, it's two nervous systems, two
networks processing the data. One for you. One
for him. Two, but only one moment of contact.
I will shut up now.