Contact, especially physical contact is essential to humans. Without it our physical and mental health suffers. Human infants will actually die if not held in close contact due to stress. In early childhood, contact and interaction is essential for small children to learn the social skills necessary for them to be balanced members of their families and societies as they grow to be adults. The first five years are critical, as the neural pathways are still in development, after which behavioural patterns become for the most part hardwired and can thus play a significant role in the life path the individual finds themselves on.
Even for adults, mental and physical isolation is an extreme challenge, so much so that solitary confinement is often used as a form of punishment or torture and can be used to break an individual's will.
We are social beings, needing contact with each other, whether a friendly smile, a kind word, a gentle touch or the warm embrace of some one that loves you.
"Reach Out and Touch Me", Leo Plaw, 30 x 40cm, oil on canvas