Losing Touch


Making coffee to a group of designers/architects always proved to be challenging. Never mind the personal taste they each had of how to drink their coffee, but you couldn't even pour it into the mugs lined up, everyone switched them up. 

It was almost ritual like -- one would come to the mugs lined up on the countertop, pick the mug up turn it 15 degrees left, then right, then look at the bottom of the mug, only then would one hold it with both hands, and if it felt like the right fit for that day -- you were able to pour the coffee into the mug. I can not make this stuff up. 


In the last few years more and more tactile biofeedback giving elements of our lives are disappearing. From the click-click-click of the typing machine to a touch screen, from turning a key to operate a car to pushing a button. It's almost like we are losing the ability to feel what we are supposed to do, that we are unlearning our brain to be able to decipher nuance of touch, a very primal part of our being. Some will claim this is part of evolution that it's not as bad as I think it is. But to me any ability we use to read our environment that is lost, is a shame. Any person who suffers from arthritis will attest that loss of sensation is almost like a phantom pain. 

Our society is suffering from this ability to feel contact. Though there are many trends of ergonomic seating, stand up desks, and special handles, they are already being built with the mindset of losing touch, not retaining it. 

In her book Sensation - the new science of physical intelligence, author Thelma Lobel describes how these moments of physical contact with everyday things, like drinking warm coffee before entering an important job interview, or switching on a light switch can trigger different sensations and spark new ideas and feelings. 


I'm not against moving forward while we make easy tabs available for toy manufacturers, but just being mindful that we also need to be conscious of the "touch free" environments we sometimes crave and create and what it must be doing to our soul. 

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