Nonphenomenal Lineage

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Creature Comforts, or We Are Social Animals

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Photograph by Spencer Tunick

Sometimes I think that we are a species that was meant to sleep together in numbers, in big piles, where people are just lying like lions or chimpanzees or puppies. And maybe that’s the way it used to be. We slept together for communion, for warmth, for protection. But with the advent of our little separated units in our domiciles, with our individual rooms and our individual beds, our locked doors and our blankets, we have removed all necessity for that behaviour and as a result, we have forcibly removed ourselves from this habit.

I guess I’m not endorsing that families sleep in big piles: I saw that once on Trading Spouses and I thought it was weird. Seven people in a family had piled all into one room, and they walked around with no shoes on during the day. I guess I thought it was a bit too hippy-commune for me.

But I find it interesting how much we rely on affection from people, and if we don’t get it, how damaging it can be to our lives. Babies, for example. They absolutely need affection from their parents. If they don’t get it, it invariably warps their mind in some sinister fashion and they have to suffer the consequences in one way or another for the rest of their lives. Serial killers and psycopaths are made this way.

But as we get older, we are weened from this contact in an attempt to make us independent from our families. We are asked to drop our childish reliance on human contact and told to learn to sleep in our beds alone and not to talk to strangers. And for good reason, there are a lot of creepazoids out there, who are probably suffering on some Freudian level of not being held by their mothers as children.

Part of the problem is that we have let our culture has become so obsessed with sex that any sort of human contact after like age 12 may be construed as sexual or abusive. As a result we are told to keep our hands to ourselves and be careful who we hug.

I think it’s counterintuitive to be this way because it seems we really never lose the desire for affection or a human touch. Instead we are just schooled to forget our reliance on it. It is a cover up, a mere bandage over a huge festering wound of denial that we are no longer animals. Why do we fancy that we aren’t, but rather a higher, more elevated creature?

The fact is that we’ll never truly be able to rid ourselves of this animal instinct. So we’ll keep on denying the majority of our lives, and relegating this closeness to aminimal facet of our lives.

I think in order to live a sane life, we have to have certain amounts of human contact. I can’t explain why hugs feel so great, but I always feel so much more whole when I get a genuine hug, or even an arm around my shoulder.

And despite sleeping alone every night and dodging people carefully on the subway so my body does not come into contact with theirs, I feel myself grasping for human contact in other aspects of my life. I don’t know for sure but maybe it’s my biological clock kicking in these days. Maybe I’m supposed to be having children soon. They’re clingy and needy.

I’m sure that having children would satisfy any sort of primal need for human contact. They’re to be produced in and fed from my body, which is the most ordinary but also the most bizarre concept I can possibly imagine.

I suppose some little ancient urge in my bloodstream, some little bit of primitive information in every one of my cells is slowly twisting my mind in the direction of motherhood. I’m not trying to deny it, but I still don’t feel like I’m ready to have children.


Currently Listening to The Mollusk by Ween


Written by pocheco

March 28, 2006 at 4:21 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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