Plus d’un toucher: Touching Worlds


Touch exposes. A mere tap on the shoulder, or a brush of the skin, gives exposition to the one who was previously neither seen nor heard. That same touch may also awaken, in the one whose shoulder is tapped or whose skin is brushed against, an aspect of the self that he or she never knew existed, an aspect that he or she never presents to others. At times, the exposition of that other aspect of the self does not need an accidental touch or a touch that surprises. As François Noudelmann has argued in Le toucher des philosophes, the caresses of the piano keyboard by thinkers such as Barthes, Sartre, and even Nietzsche can reveal, if not betray, musical tastes that they would not admit in their philosophical writings. In other words, touch opens up worlds—the world of oneself and the world of others, and even the hidden world within oneself. Touch is the negotiation of the thin membrane where the “I” leaves off and the world begins.

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