Philosophers could have solved the hidden mystery behind those people who constantly shake their arms and can’t help touching their speakers when they talk
There are so many Sicilians all around the world, that maybe a day we will find out America was actually discovered by some citizen from Catania. It is no coincidence that Nello Musumeci (the President of the Region) chose to include Sicilian dialect and history in school programs. Moreover, Sicilian is one of the most spoken dialects all over the world – or should we say one of the most “touching”? Nowadays there is much talk about how children benefit from sensory experiences, especially tactile ones, so that Amélie Poulain (from the French movie Amélie, directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet) is no longer considered a weirdo for sinking her hand into a sack of grain. Well, talking with Sicilian people is a sensory experience too: it involves your sight, as you have to check on their gestures; your smell, because they probably hold some food during the conversation; taste, because they could stress you until you try that particular food (it is still unknown the name of that disorder making Sicilians happy when they see someone eating); and eventually your touch, as first of all communicating is a form of “sharing”, and Sicilians know it well.
Philosophers could have solved the hidden mystery behind those people who constantly shake their arms and can’t help touching their speakers when they talk. Our first question, “why is it not enough for them to be seen and heard by others?”, leads us to some ancestral ones: what are human beings? How long have they existed? How did they become human beings? And the answer is: thanks to the weapon represented by their hands, as Oswald Spengler said in his Man and Technics. Moreover, senses change the way you perceive the world: smell is what makes herbivores quiet; sight is what makes carnivores predators; hands are what makes humans creators. This idea dates back to Aristotle’s De Anima, where he explained that no sense could exist without touch and that its location in the human body is in the heart. In fact, we say “how tactless you are” to talk about the lack of sensitivity in someone and “this is touching” for something truly moving. So, Sicilians want to be “touching”, even if they could be intrusive. It is a way for them to feel close to the others, to catch their attention and make the conversation interactive. And this is not all. Think about The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo: creating means to touch, in addition to be immortal. At Campo deʼ Fiori, in Rome, Giordano Bruno reads The Expulsion of the Triumphant Beast, where it is said that gods gave people intellect and hands, making them similar to deities and according them better skills than those of animals. Consequently, hands are the symbol of technical ability, as we know through the myth of Prometheus giving fire to humans: this is the great freedom of homo faber. After all, the importance of the fifth sense is evident from the moment we are born, as people welcome us by giving us a put on our behind. Then it’s the turn of kisses, hugs and of some first words like “mom” and “dad”, whose syllables force lips to touch and make people smile. How many things can hands do, in we really think about it? How many meanings can they convey? How many memories and destinies can they create? Clearly, we know they can also bring destruction. As Spengler wrote, no prey animal can choose its own weapon, while humans not only choose it, but makes it too. So, let’s think about our partner’s hands, with which we will touch the world together Let’s think about Spanish people, who use the verb tocar to say “to touch” but also “to play an instrument”. Let’s think about Spengler, who said that hands keep life energy – and let’s touch each other how we must.
Translated by Daniela Marsala