Traditional handshakes have had their time and place but I personally bid them farewell with a respectful bow. I’m calling into question the habit and sanity of the ubiquitous handshake. I promote fist bumps instead because they’re more sanitary, along with other strategic alternatives for more sensible social interactions.
The first unconscious impulse for most people upon introduction is to thrust their dominant hand in front of another person. This social expectation is an aggressive and invasive habit that’s a mediated reflex adopted from others. It’s curious to notice reactive awkwardness and anger in others when I refuse to return the gesture.
Although cosmopolitan in modern domesticated civilization, not all cultures around the world practice this custom. Many other countries and communities greet each other without touching and some even have various aversions to physical contact.
HISTORY AND DEFINITIONS
When did the handshake become integrated into society and why?
"There are many conflicting reports of the possible source of the common handshake gesture. Some say that it originated in medieval times with the etiquette of knights, others say it appeared later in the courts of British nobles in colonial times. Still others say it dates to the Romans who would approach each other and grab the forearm to make sure the other man was not carrying a weapon.”
So if there’s any accuracy to that, it means the origins are largely rooted in violence and fear. I don’t think it's a behavior pattern worthy of perpetuating.
In order to be clear about what a fist bump is and when it started catching on in society, here’s a quote about that from Wikipedia "A fist bump (also called a ‘dap') is a gesture similar in meaning to a handshake or high five. Merriam Webster Dictionary: a gesture in which two people bump their fists together (as in greeting or celebration)..."
"...the fist bump can easily be traced as far back as the late 1800s and early 1900s to the boxer's handshake as a way to greet when hands are gloved. In fact, the fist bump's origins may well lie in the animal kingdom as the gesture is natural behaviour observed in primates, according to a book published by Margaret Power”
FIST BUMPS: THEY'RE MORE SANITARY
I’m not a germaphobe, nor am I obsessive about cleanliness. Organic bacteria and microbes which naturally thrive in the wilderness are wonderful and welcome with me. But the manufactured filth found within cities is a serious hazard to contend with. For those of us who live in modern industrial civilization, there are innumerable toxic substances that we touch with our hands. Cross contamination takes place and accelerates extremely fast and can compromise our immunity, causing death in severe cases.
Where have your hands been? When was the last time you washed them? If you think about it, would you honestly be comfortable to offer your hand in good health to an incognito individual whose hands have recently been only god knows where?
As I’m typing this, I have occasionally paused to pick my nose, rub my feet and scratch my genitals. Plus I pet a cat a little bit ago, and although cats are typically clean, some people have allergies to them. I haven’t sanitized the keyboard in days. The situation grows exponentially. I was at a store earlier and handled cash and a receipt that the cashier handed to me. She has had her hands on a lot of stuff. I’m going to wash my hands now...
...Vending machines. ATM’s. Cell phones. Door handles. Lavatories. Synthetic perfumes. Chemical creams. Big mouths and other orifices. Office filing. Trash taking. Diaper changing. Dog petting. Face licking dogs. The variety and variations of toxic exchanges between handshakes are infinite. Read this article for a top 25 list of things we touch that could exponentially wreck you.
HEALTH AND SAFETY
This excerpt is from Wikipedia "Handshakes are known to spread countless germs. Certain diseases such as scabies spread the most through direct skin-to-skin contact. A medical study has found that fist bumps, daps and high fives spread fewer germs than handshakes … In light of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, the dean of medicine at the University of Calgary, Tomas Feasby, suggested that the fist bump may be a "nice replacement of the handshake" in an effort to prevent transmission of the virus."
"Two researchers from Aberystwyth University in Wales make the case that handshaking exchanges a lot more germs than a modern alternative, the fist bump.
"Their experiment was simple. Both researchers put sterile gloves on their right hands. One dipped the gloved hand into a contained filled with a solution teeming with harmless E. coli bacteria. Then they shook hands and measured the number of bacteria on the glove that had not been dipped in the E. coli solution. They did the same thing for high fives and fist bumps.
Shaking hands transmitted 2 times more bacteria than high fives, and 10 times more bacteria than bumping fists. Their results are published in the August 2014 issue of the American Journal of Infection Control."
DICHOTOMY OF DIRT
Within the limits of civilized domestication, I think there’s an excessive emphasis on hyper sterilization, where wildness is considered to be a threat. The reactive actions taken by corporations and thought police result in artificial products and manipulative propaganda which are generated in factories and freak shows. They are toxic things and ideas.
Without such stimulation, the Th2 system flourishes and the immune system tends to react with allergic responses more easily. A child raised in an environment devoid of dirt and germs, and who is given antibiotics that kill off all of the bacteria in their gut, is not able to build up natural resistance to disease, and becomes vulnerable to illnesses later in life.
In other words, the hygiene hypothesis posits that children and adults not being exposed to viruses and other environmental factors like dirt, germs and parasites results in their not being able to build up resistance, which makes them more vulnerable to illnesses.”
"Conventional medicine`s toxic efforts at killing microbes instead of creating better inner terrains result in creating even more disease.
The Medical Mafia and Big Pharma have ignored this in favor of continuing their profitable disease care racket with its domino effect of cures that cause more disease."
HUGS: THEY'RE MORE HYGIENIC
But beware of the guys who, for whatever reason, go crazy with the vice grip.
Hugs are a nice way of bonding. Like a handshake, I appreciate how a person tells a story of themselves through subtle body language. I can learn something of them without saying a word and I like that. However, even a hug can, and usually does, when delivered without active energy, betray a pathetic or repulsive personality that is devoid of any character strength. If one decides to go in for a hug, please do so with body and soul fully engaged. Both men and women would honor the hug and human with emotional and physical confidence.
I’m not saying we ought to be paranoid about everything we touch. I am saying we would be wise to elevate our consciousness to make more intelligent choices about how we design our lifestyle habits. I’m not serious about all this, but I am sincere.
One of the best things that I like to do is make a sanitizing solution that I carry around everywhere and use often throughout the days. The basic recipe I created and improvise on is a mixture of alcohol, witch hazel, water, sea salt and a potent combination of essential oils. It’s easy, effective, feels nice, smells great and a small bottle conveniently fits in a pocket, backpack or purse.
I hope you find this essay helpful or at least entertaining. Some of the concepts or practices might seem extreme or strange. My intention with this post is to playfully open minds, hearts and perspectives in order to explore new, healthy and empowered ways of thinking, feeling and acting.