Issue #19 - 1m15s


Welcome to Frame, a series of posts on the human condition and our changing relationship with the world around us. We’ll talk through conditions that were once beautiful curiosities, now desensitized into the mundane — something I like to call adolescent romances. If you’re with it, you can sign up here.

Photo: Terri Loewenthal, Psychscape 20 (Tioga Peak, CA) 2018

How understimulated are the middle of our palms and the arches of our feet?

Think about how we grab objects. We always grasp by the tips of the finger, sometimes with the meat of our fingers, and rarely with the entire hand.

When we grip a pencil, type on a computer, or lift a cup, we grasp these objects with the tips of our fingers and only that. When we examine the wooden grooves of an antique desk or the fur on mink coat, we run our fingertips on it, following the curves that guide us if they exist and exploring aimlessly if not.

When we cut down with a knife, lift a cardboard box, grip the pole of the subway car, we use our entire palm. Yet, we lift our palms every so slightly from the surface, leaving the qualia mundane, lacking in definition and individuality.

We almost never feel deeply and consciously with palms. Yet the receptors there are some of the most often exposed of those in our bodies and so close in proximity to the receptors that feel the most.

So, does this mean anything or worth extrapolating from? Nope. Not at all. In fact, this is a completely useless little observation that shouldn't fundamentally alter anything in your life.

But it’s interesting if you let it be. To flatten the hand and feel the textures of the telephone pole solely on the softest part of your palms. It's oddly novel. The textures hit different.