" The importance of touch as a form of positive mirroring and therefore a source of self-creation and ontological security, was explored in 'The Continuum Concept by Jean Liedhoff. Liedhoff began to understand the role of being held in human identity formation as a result of the time she spent living with the Yequana Indians of Brazil. Yaquana babies are held-"in arms" as she puts it - twenty-four hours a day for at least the first two years of their lives. The result is that they grow up not experiencing any gap, or sense of having an empty space within themselves.They do not, she says spend their entire lives trying to prove that they exist, or trying to make up for a missing sense of self. Confiscation is a rupture in the continuum of life, which is a biological continuum . The Yequana , get only very mild doses of this or none at all. So where we moderns spend most of our lives trying, indirectly and unconsciously , to repair the ruptured continuum, the Yequana never have to think about it - they can just live and enjoy life. For most of us the Self comes to be defined as wanting, the Other as withholding. Our basic orientation to life is future-oriented. I'll be all right if..... I'll be happy when.....etc. This desire for tactile mirroring, for physical reassurance , says Liedhoff , is not about sex - at least not in the narrow sense of the term. In fact, the modern Western preoccupation with sex is really a symptom of continuum rupture. Sex is only a nodal point on an erotic, object-relalions continuum. The search for a universe that is loving (not just friendly)is the real issue here. A friendly universe gases approvingly on the infant , whereas a loving universe holds it. The search for the lost Other is in first and foremost an ontological, or cosmological, project, but in practice it turns into an erotic one as well."
I'm finding Morris Berman's 'Coming To Our Senses' a fascinating read. This book looks at body and spirit in the hidden history of the west. It is helping me understand why Tai Chi and other somatic practices are still very much a minority interest.