Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Seeing Being

Frugal (1930) held the opinion clothing had an important social significance, which, if known, told much about the personality of the wearer. With the exception of hands and faces, clothing provides important signal from which humans can react. Out attire provides the safest distance to judge a stranger and the more intimate relationship then the more important finer features and speech play. Clothes serve three main purposes: decoration, modesty and protection. Whilst the latter may appear the most logical it is not supported by history (both ancient and modern). Fig leaf mentality may explain why we have covered up, but by far the major reason for clothing is decoration. The essential purpose of decoration is to beautify bodily appearance, so as to attract admiring glances from others and fortify self-esteem. Modesty, on the other hand, makes us hide bodily excellence in an attempt to refrain from drawing attention of others. When decoration and modesty are pitted together this can provide a psychological conflict or neurosis. The degree of harmony or compromise between conflicting interests may be clearly seen in shoes. Feet are not secondary sexual characteristics, albeit they have been sexualised. Sigment Freud, was convinced upright stance led to the frontal display of both primary and secondary sex organs and argued humans had no need to develop other senses when greatest benefit was gained by perfecting sight. Further as bipeds our feet separate us from all other beings because unlike them we have a weightbearing heel, and inside arch, and big toe for ground leverage. Their significance is humans were able to develop an upright stance and the two million years of evolution between Homo rectus and Homo sapian meant the human brain became far more complex. Anthropologists believe weightbearing feet influenced the form and function of buttocks, bosoms; the legs and thighs, tummies, hips and even genitalia. The pedal extremities are well supplied by nerve pathways which transmit messages to multiple and diverse areas of the brain, including the sensory parietal lobe. Not by coincidence then the sensory centre for feet lies in close proximity to sensory nerves of the genitalia. This may explain, why for some people neural print-through causes their feet to become sexually expressive. However for the vast majority feet remain sensual objects. In any event we are the only beings on the planet to be able to make love standing up, face to face.

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