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Table of contents
PREFACE
TOUCH-1
TOUCH-2
TOUCH-3 (begin)
TOUCH-3 (end)
TOUCH-4 (begin)
TOUCH-4 (end)
SMELL-1
SMELL-2
SMELL-3.1
SMELL-3.2
SMELL-3.3
SMELL-3.4
SMELL-3.5
SMELL-4 (begin)
SMELL-4 (end)
SMELL-5
HEARING-1
HEARING-2
HEARING-3
VISION-1.1
VISION-1.2
VISION-1.3
VISION-2.1
VISION-2.2
VISION-2.3
VISION-2.4
VISION-3
VISION-4
VISION-5
APPENDIX A
APPENDIX B HISTORY-1
APPENDIX B HISTORY-2.1
APPENDIX B HISTORY-2.2
APPENDIX B HISTORY-2.3
APPENDIX B HISTORY-3.1
APPENDIX B HISTORY-3.2
INDEX OF AUTHORS

TOUCH. 

 

I. 

 

The Primitive Character of the Skin--Its Qualities--Touch the Earliest 

Source of Sensory Pleasure--The Characteristics of Touch--As the Alpha and 

Omega of Affection--The Sexual Organs a Special Adaptation of 

Touch--Sexual Attraction as Originated by Touch--Sexual Hyperaesthesia to 

Touch--The Sexual Associations of Acne. 

 

 

We are accustomed to regard the skin as mainly owing its existence to the 

need for the protection of the delicate vessels, nerves, viscera, and 

muscles underneath. Undoubtedly it performs, and by its tough and elastic 

texture is well fitted to perform, this extremely important service. But 

the skin is not merely a method of protection against the external world; 

it is also a method of bringing us into sensitive contact with the 

external world. It is thus, as the organ of touch, the seat of the most 

widely diffused sense we possess, and, moreover, the sense which is the 

most ancient and fundamental of all--the mother of the other senses. 

 

It is scarcely necessary to insist that the primitive nature of the 

sensory function of the skin with the derivative nature of the other 

senses, is a well ascertained and demonstrable fact. The lower we descend 

in the animal scale, the more varied we find the functions of the skin to 

be, and if in the higher animals much of the complexity has disappeared, 

that is only because the specialization of the various skin regions into 

distinct organs has rendered this complexity unnecessary. Even yet, 

however, in man himself the skin still retains, in a more or less latent 

condition, much of its varied and primary power, and the analysis of 

pathological and even normal phenomena serves to bring these old powers 

into clear light. 

 

Woods Hutchinson (_Studies in Human and Comparative Pathology_, 

1901, Chapters VII and VIII) has admirably set forth the immense 

importance of the skin, as in the first place "a tissue which is 

silk to the touch, the most exquisitely beautiful surface in the 

universe to the eye, and yet a wall of adamant against hostile 

attack. Impervious alike, by virtue of its wonderful responsive 

vitality, to moisture and drought, cold and heat, electrical 

changes, hostile bacteria, the most virulent of poisons and the 

deadliest of gases, it is one of the real Wonders of the World. 

More beautiful than velvet, softer and more pliable than silk, 

more impervious than rubber, and more durable under exposure than 

steel, well-nigh as resistant to electric currents as glass, it 

is one of the toughest and most dangerproof substances in the 

three kingdoms of nature" (although, as this author adds, we 

"hardly dare permit it to see the sunlight or breathe the open 

air"). But it is more than this. It is, as Woods Hutchinson 

expresses it, the creator of the entire body; its embryonic 

infoldings form the alimentary canal, the brain, the spinal cord, 

while every sense is but a specialization of its general organic 


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