Jun 192014


The 50 books in a year still goes strong but I have noticed that it slowed down this week and a half because the family got sick and I’ve been having less reading time.

Also, this book is fatter!

Touching: The Human Significance of the Skin


It has been remarked that in the final analysis every tragedy is a failure of communication.  And what the child receiving inadequate cutaneous stimulation suffers from is a failure of integrative development as a human being, a failure in the communication of the experience of love.  By being stroked, and caressed, and carried, and cuddled, comforted, and cooed to, by being loved, the child learns to stroke and caress and cuddle, comfort and coo, and to love others.  In this sense love is sexual in the healthiest sense of that word.  It implies involvement, concern, responsibility, tenderness, and awareness of the needs, sensibilities, and vulnerabilities of the other.  All this is communicated to the infant through the skin in the early months of his life, and gradually reinforced by feeding, sound, and visual cues as the infant develops.
– Ashley Montagu

I was introduced to the book back in 2007 when attending the Florida School of Massage.  As someone who works with infants at their homes I see a large range of cosmologies or world-views which reflect on how the parents treat their babies.  Some parents prefer to be disciplinarians in an attempt to teach their child to value respect for elders, following orders, doing things “right”; some parents sleep with their babies at night, some parents use cribs in separate rooms and wrap the babies in those one-piece clothes that prevent them from moving in the crib as it is their view that this will be beneficial for the baby.  I see a large gamut of attitudes and all are based upon what we know.  This book sheds some light on what it is that we do know and may help parents and societies reshape their view of being human.