The Phenomenon of…The Touch of…


Dominique Nicolau, nico

The Phenomenon of…The Touch of…

 

 

 

 

pan-flutes pan flute

blonde flips hair, she slow-motion walks through ferny forest

arrives at waterfall

ferns and lilies abound

‘I’ve always thought there was something magical about the touch of silk’

blonde strokes a lily (vagina)

‘Oh sure it’s sensual’

fades into ecu[1]on hand on lily (vagina) on sensual

‘it’s natural’

blondes fingers linger on the lily (vagina)

blonde hard flips hair

pan-flutes pan flute

‘but to me…’

blonde flips hair again

‘it’s always been magical’

blonde strokes then scoops water

blondes clothes fall off

‘just like Sunsilk’s new shampoos and conditioners…’

blonde picks up shampoo

waterfall is in the background

pan-flutes pan flute

blonde washes her hair in the waterfall, her hair is foamy

she wears brown 90s lipstick

she doesn’t seem cold in the waterfall

‘…with silk proteins’

naked wet blonde emerges upward in the waterfall

we see her back, her hair is conditioned, she shakes her wet hair

score intensifies greatly (think John Barry/ James Horner/ John Williams)

blonde touches the surface of the water- (this is the quintessential moment!!)

her hand moves down, then up, then up further and to the right, her thumb moves away from her fingers, she pinches her thumb and fingers  together, this movement allows her to (magic!) pick up the water, she grips it, she pulls it up, it reacts like a soft flowy fabric.

blonde controls the water

her hair is slicked back, her only clothes the water

the blonde draws the water towards her chest, her right hand placed above her left breast, her left hand hugged under the right arm, above her right breast

the water covers her like an silken towel, she pulls the water close, the water twists like a long gown

‘my hair now has a softness and a depth of shine’

ws[2]shows the blonde highlighted in the waterfall

the blonde is statuesque

she steps and moves through the water, she is 8 feet tall, 10 feet tall

‘which only comes..’

the blonde takes a throaty breath[3]

blonde hard flips hair in slow motion, it is magically dry and done, she looks seductively into the camera, places hand over heart

‘from the touch of silk’

A shampoo and conditioner bottle are shown, the waterfall and a fern is blurred in the background. text reads ‘For the touch of silk’

man’s voice-over ‘Sunsilk, for the touch of silk’

the blonde smiles into the camera, her signature Laura Dern displays across the screen.

 

 


___

 

‘Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic’[4]
How will our human minds and bodies evolve? How will our mental abilities change over time? How will biological, non-biological evolution and technological advancement affect Homo sapiens?

‘We stand on the geosphere, the Earth itself, we live in the biosphere, the outer layer of life, but we think, said Teilhard, in a collective Noosphere.’[5]

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955) saw ‘a gradual increase in complexity with time.[6]He believed that evolution was an intelligence-driven plan moving through time and space to an end he called Omega. He spoke of the future of biological and non-biological evolution presciently. He saw the‘value of synthesis in the evolutionary sense’[7]He saw a complexation, simplification and integration of Homo sapiens and our predecessors, going back till the beginning of life. An amalgamation of genes. A refining of bodies, a grand rise in human consciousness. He believed in a love driven, ultimately psychic nature of evolution. That human, as the ‘last-born’[8]was the final physical piece of the evolutionary process. That human was the ‘leading shoot of zoological evolution’[9]on the biological Tree of Life. He believed our species would go on evolving to a culminant point he called the Noosphere[10]. He looked to nature; to the Earth, to the cosmic Universe, saw that everything is born, everything grows. He speaks of growth as life preceding.
‘I believe I can see a direction and a line of progress for life…I am convinced their reality will be universally admitted by the science of tomorrow.’[11]

Teilhard spent his time discovering and contemplating about where humanity had originated. Using scientific knowledge to be cognisant of how humanity had transmogrified from single-celled organisms into modern Homo sapien. He wrote about where he believed humanity was headed. In a way divining the future, but with a most thorough comprehension of the expansion of the past. He speaks of the ‘great thing yet to come’[12],this thing he calls the ‘higher soul’[13].He speaks of human beings as being linked to each other. Linked to the evolution of matter, linked to the planet Earth and linked to the entire Universe.

 

 

[14]

 

He spoke of the Noosphere[15]as a living thing, a thing that becomes more substantial and intensifies as human consciousness develops, evolves and flourishes. ‘Omega…the hoard of consciousness liberated little by little on earth by Noogenesis adds itself together and accumulates’[16]

‘We are faced with a harmonised collectivity of consciousness equivalent to a sort of super-consciousness. The idea is that of the earth not only becoming enclosed by myriads of grains of thought but becoming enclosed in a single thinking envelope so as to form, functionally, no more than a single vast grain of thought”[17]

In Teilhard’s theory the Omega Point cannot be the result of the universe’s final complex stage of itselfs own consciousness. Instead, the Omega Point must exist before the evolution of the universe because the Omega Point is responsible for the rise of the universe towards more complexity and consciousness. Which essentially means that the Omega Point is outside the framework in which the universe rises; because it is by the attraction of the Omega Point that the universe evolves towards It- the Omega Point is an intellectual being, not an abstract idea. It is atemporal and free from the limitations of space.

Teilhard bases his prophecy for the future on his belief that Homo sapiens as a species will grow in love, and eventually becoming all love we would be amalgamated into the Omega. But not completely merged; one still retains individuality but one also becomes part of the whole.

‘True union, the union of heart and spirit, does not enslave, nor does it neutralise the individuals which it brings together.  It super-personalises them. Let us try to picture the phenomenon on a terrestrial scale. Imagine [Homo sapiens] awakening at last, under the influence of the ever-tightening planetary embrace, to a sense of universal solidarity based on their profound community, evolutionary in its nature and purpose…It is not harshness or hatred but a new kind of love, not yet experienced by [Homo sapiens], which we must learn to look for as it is borne to us on the rising tide of planetisation.”[18]

‘We are accustomed to consider only the sentimental face of love, the joy and miseries it causes us…Love in all its subtleties is nothing more, and nothing less, than the more or less direct trace marked on the heart of the element by the psychical convergence of the universe upon itself’[19]

Bam.

Teilhard saw humans as continuously evolving, becoming better. Teilhard said the engendering and maturation of the mind will eventually lead to Noogenesis, to the Noosphere.

‘The end of the world: the wholesale internal introversion upon itself of the noosphere, which has simultaneously reached the uttermost limit of its complexity and its centrality’[20]

 

[21]

___

‘The noosphere is the collective consciousness of humanity, the networks of thought and emotion in which all are immersed.’[22]Could it be a possibility that the natural global disasters we are experiencing are, in some part, the result of a large percentage of the 7.7+ billion humans on earth feeling disaffection, depression and in some cases extreme deprivation? If so, is it only the humans that could affect the Earth via the Noosphere? What about the flora and fauna traumatised by the current era and it’s humanity driven misdeeds?
___
There is a feeling when I first wake, and everything is horrible. A feeling of sadness when first I wake, a feeling of separateness. A need to be hugged, but not by a human; not by an individual human. A human is too small. Instead by something much more gargantuan. More. A need to be safely wrapped, weightless, in a legion of timeless consciousness. To be engulfed; swaddled like a kitten purrito, by a multitude of consciousness. To lose my own sense of individual self, and to instead be us. To be away from. To be part of.

 

 

 

[23]

 

‘Teilhard perceived a directionality in evolution along an axis of increasing complexity/consciousness. For Teilhard, the Noosphere is the sphere of thought encircling the earth that has emerged through evolution as a consequence of this growth in complexity/consciousness. The Noosphere is therefore as much part of nature as the barysphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere. As a result, Teilhard sees the social phenomenon [as] the culmination of and not the attenuation of the biological phenomenon. These social phenomena are part of the Noosphere and include, for example, legal, educational, religious, research, industrial and technological systems. In this sense, the Noosphere emerges through and is constituted by the interaction of human minds. The Noosphere thus grows in step with the organisation of the human mass in relation to itself as it populates the earth. Teilhard argued the noosphere evolves towards ever greater personalisation, individuation and unification of its elements.”[24]

___

The part in the Laura Dern ‘Touch of Silk’Sunsilk shampoo commercial where she picks up the water and wraps it around herself is the best visual/ explanation I have seen to illustrate my need, my feeling. It emotes visually my yearning. Itillustrates, I think, what the noosphere may feel like. Hugged by the Universe. Elevated. On high. Safely encapsulated in nature. Unbothered, protected. Together. A part of. Merged, yet still there. Still me, still you. Separate together.

___

Skin hunger; touch deprivation, an ever-increasing problem in this digital age, is when a human has not been touched, or does not experience much touch, be that platonic, sexual or other, in or for a long time.

How do the olders deal? How do they, later in life go years, even decades without touch? Studies I have looked into show they don’t do well, that those older people who do not experience touch do not live nearly as long. Babies will die without touch. Studies were done on monkeys[25]. Studies have also been done on Romanian children, following effects of the 1966 leagăne where, over more than two decades; thousands of children experienced long-term sensory deprivation.[26]

If you have children or people that you are in physical contact with- you do not have skin hunger. If you experience frequent consensual platonic touch in your life you are not experiencing skin hunger. What you are experiencing is desire, or something else akin to, but not, skin hunger. The average person can be lonely and can feel a need but it’s not a starved kind of need.
Extra aware of thigh to thigh on public transport. People dancing too close. When someone gives you change, and they touch your hand. Shaking hands. These touches gross me out. Unpleasant touch experiences. When there are few touch experiences becoming hyper-aware of them all.
Ways to combat skin hunger-
Cats, the more the better. Hug em, pet em, touch em. Ask to take a friend’s dog for walks. Visit an ethical petting farm. Volunteer with animals. Find ways of being in physical contact with animals.
Hugging yourself- Right hand over left arm, left hand stretched around the right-hand side of your back. Best done with eyes closed and leaning against something or lying down. This touch releases the chemical oxytocinand can help with your stress.
Going for a walk without the distraction of music. Being physical in nature helps you to not disassociate and the good chemicals from the exercise will help quash the cortisol in your system.
Dancing alone.
Getting a massage, this can be intense. Electric.
A body pillow, I have been spooning a U-shaped pillow. Also travel pillows, the memory foam is firm and good, hug it like a teddy bear- get a teddy bear. Love the shit out of that inanimate object.
Treat yoself, retail therapy it up. Send yourself presents. Especially good smelling or soft presents.

Things I read or think will help-
Hug a tree.
Cuddle parties. Massage-train  :/ (no tho)
Team sports.
Mani-pedis. Facials.
A hug therapist. These are legitimate, a service specifically created to fight the effects of skin-hunger. Exspenny tho, around $80-$120 auz/nzd per hour and there are limited practitioners in Australasia.
Talk to your close friends, if you have friends you trust, tell them you need more touch in your life. See if there are ways, where you are all still safe and comfortable, of incorporating more physical platonic touch into your relationship.
Find someone(s) to spoon with. Put a pillow between your genitals. Stop if either/any of you experience discomfort or sexual desire. Make sure you both/all agree that any party can end the touch at any time. Arousal is not shameful, but it is not to be pursued.
Have your friend braid or comb your hair.
Video call with someone. A depression robot on the internet told me that video chat helps people feel less depressed and more connected than other forms of remote communication.

___
There is a piece missing to this puzzle. It begins on the right-hand side of my back, upper right, below the shoulder blade, near the spine. It is circular. It breathes. It lifts, it wraps, it cradles. It pushes through, it reaches out. It extends. It extends over everything, through everything, is everything. Expands; Snap!, contracts. And back. Did it happen? Is it real?
‘The 21stcentury could end in World peace, Universal prosperity and evolution to a higher level as humanity becomes like a single transcendent nervous system. An interconnected brain-based in new core pathways of society’[27]

 

Dominique Nicolau, nico 15/11/2018 2:59am

[1]Extreme close-up

[2]Wide shot

[3]Sunsilk shampoo commercial https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sR9KJntr31Estaring Laura Dern, circa 1994, filmed at Natural Bridge and Moogerah Dam, South East Queensland, Australia, accessed 04/11/18

[4]Clarke, Arthur C.

[5]https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2005/12/9/170704/-accessed 02/11/18

[6]Teilhard de Chardin, Pierre The Phenomenon of Man,Harper Perennial,1955,pg 141

[7]ibid pg 268

[8]ibid pg 252

[9]ibid pg 268

[10]ibid pg 142

[11]ibid pg 142

[12]ibid pg 142

[13]ibid pg 142

[14]I heart Huckabees, 2004, dir O Russell, David, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSdrwqLUpD0accessed 07/11/18

[15]No one knows who first came up with the idea of the noosphere. It was used by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin in his 1922 book about the development about the universe. It was also mentioned by Soviet geochemist Vladimir Vernadsky. Others ascribe the idea to a lecture by Édouard Le Roy, a French mathematician.

[16]Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Phenomenon of Manpg 260

[17]ibid pg 251

[18]ibid pg 124

[19]ibid pg 264-265

[20]ibid pg 287

[21]Roob, Alexander EdThe Hermetic Museum: Alchemy and MysticismKoln Taschen 2001 pg 286

[22]Teilhard de Chardin, Pierre, The Phenomenon of Man, Harper Perennial, 1955, pg 278

[23]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Is0kLBawEG4accessed 13/11/18

 

[24]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noosphereaccessed 13/11/18

[25]Total Social Isolation in Monkys, Harlow, Harry Department of Psychology Primate Laboratory and Regional Primate Research Center, University of Wisconsin, 1965

[26]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgZJ-IV8Et0accessed 13/11/18

In 1966 the dictator of Romania Nicolae Ceaușescu enacted decree 770. He wanted to increase Romania’s industrial output and believed the best way to achieve this was with a large population increase. Decree 770 made all contraceptives illegal, abortions were illegal for woman who had had less than 4 children. A 30% income tax was put on childless people over the age of 25. He created the leagăne, (cradles). These were institutional homes for the very young. It wasn’t until 1989 that the rest of the world learned about this. Thousands of children had grown up in these institutions, frequently experiencing profound sensory depravation. Out of this sadness neurobiologists, psychiatrist and scientists were able to do comprehensive studies on those who had experienced skin hunger.[26]Information in this endnote drawn from, Konnikova, Maria, The Power of Touch,  The New Yorker, March 4, 2015 https://www.newyorker.com/science/maria-konnikova/power-touchaccessed 05/11/18

[27]Horn, Tom & Quayle, Steve. Radio interview Transhumanism & Genetic manipulationUnnatural Evolution. 25/06/10. Quote starting at 03:20:00:00 accessed on YouTube 15/02/12

 Dominique Nicolau, nico is an artist/ writer/ researcher from Aotearoa, who works predominantly with sculpture, sound and installation. Hir main focus is research. Hir intersecting...


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