Posted in Psychology & Medicine

The Importance Of Hugging

American psychologist Harry Harlow was interested in the debate surrounding the role of the mother. Some scholars argued that a mother’s role is to provide food for the baby, while others argued for the importance of the mother’s tender loving care for the baby. To investigate this, Harlow created two “mothers” for a group of infant rhesus macaques (species of monkeys). One mother was made of wire and wood and the other made of soft cloth to simulate the physical contact of an actual mother monkey. The twist was that only the wire mother provided milk for the infant. Despite this, an overwhelming number of infant macaques chose the cloth mother over the wire mother, choosing physical contact over nourishment. It was found that when given the two choices, the infants would visit the wire mother only for a feed, then would cling to the cloth mother the rest of the time. Harlow concluded that the mother’s role is not only to feed the young, but to provide them with “contact comfort” through physical contact.

Hugging is a form of physical contact found in almost every culture across the globe. It non-verbally communicates to the other person that you love and care for them and that you are compassionate for their happiness. It can provide the warmth, comfort, support and security the other person may need at the end of a tough day.

The act of hugging induces a massive release of oxytocin into your system, giving you the sensation of happiness and connection. It reduces your blood pressure and dissolves anxiety, making you feel more at peace. The behaviour of hugging is seen in a mother holding her child, a child cuddling a teddy bear, a couple communicating their affection, or two friends sharing a moment of happiness.

When two people hug, they become something more than a simple group of two people. In that moment of a hug, the two people enter a transcendent zone filled with only love and happiness, where they are protected from the sorrows and evils of the world. It is the physical form of human connection. In other words, a hug is the closest thing to the physical manifestation of true happiness.

1 + 1 = 3

Posted in Philosophy

Monkeys And Acorns

A man living in the Song Dynasty had many monkeys. He was wary that he might not have enough food to feed the monkeys, so he implemented a rationing system, telling the monkeys “As we are short of food, I will limit the acorns you get to three in the morning and four in the evening”. The monkeys screamed and protested, so the man told the monkeys: “Then I will change it to four in the morning and three in the evening. The stupid monkeys could not figure out that the sum was the same and were overjoyed. This is the story behind the proverb: cho sam mo sa ("Three in the morning, four in the evening”, 조삼모사, 朝三暮四).

It is common to see people who cannot see the forest for the trees and only focus on the immediate gains, just like the monkeys. Although there might be some short-term benefit, the results will be the same (or worse) in the long run and not seeing this is very foolish. To lead a successful life one must have the insight to understand how the happiness gained now will affect the future and the wisdom to achieve the balance between short-term and long-term benefits. Too many people lack these qualities and fall into the trap of hire purchases, mortgages and frauds.

The monkeys made another critical mistake. If they protest against the man’s plans for a better future, he can just say “If you’re not happy, starve” and everything will be over. To throw away the future for a quick fix is an incredibly idiotic act.