Snuggling Has Become a Commodity
I’ve thought long and hard about the historical absurdity of my own previous profession as a personal trainer/health coach. Not that I’m judging personal training as a ‘bad’ profession. In fact, I find it to be one of the most admirable professions available and will continue to be a promoter of heuristic health until the day I die. My point is more economical and historical. When in human history have people ever needed (to pay) a coach in order to promote human physical active? (Maybe during the Roman empire???)
“I am myself and my circumstances. If I cannot save my circumstances, I cannot save myself.” – Ortega y Gasset (1914)
Throughout most of western history (better yet, ALL of known human history), merely living one’s life and working for a living incorporated a status quo of physical activity – until recently. ‘Fitness training,’ and specifically ‘personal training,’ is a very historically embedded job that wasn’t really available as an accepted practice, say, 50 years ago. Sure, some people made a living out of it (i.e. Eugen Sandow, Charles Atlas, Professor K.V. Iyer, etc.) and athletic training and gymnastics have been around for a really long time (mostly in conjunction with military service). What I’m trying to point out, is that our physical, environmental and ideological circumstances have to be altered to such an extent that there is a marketable need for, say, personal training. I’d even say that most of us are so hypnotized by the idea of ‘technological and innovative progress’ (cars, highways, home delivery, industrial production, iPhones (yes, even iPhones) etc.) that we’ve neglected to notice the detriment this has done to our humanistic needs.
Enter the Snuggery. The Snuggery is a cuddling profession started by a woman in NY who genuinely wants to help others heal with physical touch. That is, she charges $60 and hour for cuddling. No sexual anything is allowed and for precautions she always has somebody else in the house during cuddle sessions. Professionally and financially, she’s doing quite well.
I have the utmost empathy for her because I too believe that the current circumstantial environment of western society is in dire need for more close, physical touch (and there is medical research to back up the benefits of snuggling). But let me ask you to think long and hard about the historical and circumstantial implications of this – we’re putting a price-tag on cuddling. Cuddling(!).
Again, I’m definitely not judging her – She’s not swindling hundreds of millions of dollars by cuddling strangers, she’s paying for food and housing. My judgement is saved for the political economic system that has turned a blind eye to the communal, humanistic needs of society. I’m judging a neoliberal system of markets that, with the help of an unquestioned growing disparity in the spectrum of wealth and power, have alter our circumstantial environments in such uneven development that there is now a market for cuddling. My mind is absolutely boggled… I feel the greatest temptation to say to our society, “we should be ashamed of ourselves for allowing our circumstances to come to this. Cuddling need not be a monetary exchange! Get to know your neighbors and don’t be afraid to hug them.”
How do we begin to address this (short of a political, economic, ecological revolution)? Start a ‘cuddle revolution.’