When was the last time we shook hands with each other?

Human beings are traders, not from a merely commercial point of view, but to the extent that the communication and the exchange of our subjectivities provide us with the comforting awareness of being part of a universal reality. A pandemic is keeping us at a distance. Space and time are suspended. And it is painful.

Discussing the theory of probability, the British economist J.M. Keynes tells us that “no place can be intrinsically distant.” This elusive but, at the same time, obvious truth casts a light on the dense net of economic, social and cultural relations that surround us. Borrowing a term from developmental psychology, human interactions can be described as delicate, continuous “transactions,” significant relations in which the terms involved – the percipient and the perceived – determine each other reciprocally.

Perhaps these times of isolation will counsel us to re-evaluate the sense of a handshake. As we shake our hand, we disseminate our hopes, our values and ideals. We radiate our humanities, and spread germs of trust. Our handshakes strengthen those invisible relations surrounding us, and remind us that our humanity is mightier than any artificial connection, is ineluctable, and that the number of our shared attributes supersedes all the variances.

A day shall come when we might decide to shake our hands again. That day we will recall the time when we lost trust in our fellows. And how lonely we felt.

Romolo Marcoccio


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