Touch and Social Order


"Touch and Social Order"

By Jeremiah Cameron, Ph.D. (July 29, 2001)

In an earlier article I pointed out how important it is for parents, nursery centersfs, schools, churches, and especially juvenile authorities to understand the absolute necessity for small children to have body contacts of a pleasant nature, for there is overwhelming evidence of what such contacts have on the brain—especially the limbic system, coming from primitive times and having much control over emotional behavior.

As quiet as it is kept, man is among those animals that have to have body contact for what we call normal behavior. Why football, boxing, wrestling? And of course, why sex? They provide men, who because of the action of the male sex hormone have different contact needs from those of women, the touch sensations which they had already received (or not received) from mother in their earlier years. They "have to" have it.

Animals will endure all kinds of lumps and pain (as men do in football and boxing) to have the sensation of touch, which they may not be aware of as creating and stimulating brain cells—especially in the powerful limbic system of the brain. Who knows what these men would be like without body contacts? Noticeably, small children who have been beaten and abused by their mothers, will cling to their mother and seek them out for the motherly contact. We understand now why children in 19th and early 20th century orphanages and juvenile homes had poor survival rates and later unhappy lives: They really grew up in isolation, without being hugged, stroked and touched.

There is a lesson here for modern child-rearing: Society must see to it that children get proper care in the early years, or society will have to spend billions upon billions in later years to repair the damage they do and keep them locked up and way from society. I am not suggesting the kind of intrusion into family life that took place in Nazi Germany. There is a real problem with teenage mothers whose prefrontal lobes of the brain have not matured to the point of making good judgment.

But even these young mothers, as well as older ones, need to understand how vital it is to touch the children, to read to them, to support them. Child specialists know the devices and techniques that work. Society must do a better job of seeing that this information (like taking the child to a clinic periodically) gets to mothers. All these groups that get together to perform vigils and memorialize children after they have been abused or are dead, could do this. I believe they would do this if they knew what brain specialist and neuroscientists know—and have not made readily accessible.

I have more to say about the influence of the limbic brain on problems that disturb us. Consider the effect of touch. Why do you think that in the midst of a crowd, Jesus cried out, "Somebody touched me!"

The Jeremiah Cameron Articles