Touch Today: From Subject to Reject


In Entre orient et occident, Luce Irigaray argues that humans, especially those of occidental heritage, still do not know how to breathe properly. To breathe properly (and Irigaray suggests we can learn this through yoga) would involve the conscious sharing of air around us. What this sharing does is open us to the fact that the air we breathe is always traced by the expiration of the other, and that, vice-versa, our expiration will always affect the other. It also makes us conscious of the fact that one breathes differently from the other, that there is always “a difference of relation to breath” (113, my translations) not just between man and woman, but also between each one of us. By acknowledging the fact that each of us breathes the shared air differently, we can also become conscious of sharing differences. In short, according to Irigaray, it is through this cultivation of shared breath, or through our openness to share the air around us, that we can begin to be in touch, literally and figuratively, with the respective difference of each being, and thereby begin to recognize and respect our individual differences.

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