Essay of the Hidden Dimensions

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The subject of this book THE HIDDEN DIMENSION is space as a system of communication. It deals with people’s perception and use of personal, social, architectural, and urban spaces. “Proxemics” is the term coined by Hall for the interrelated observations and theories of the use of space as a specialized elaboration of culture. Different cultural systems are rooted in biology and physiology. Humans are distinguished from other animals by virtue of what Hall terms “extensions” of their organism. Extensions improve and specialize certain functions. The relationship between humans and the cultural dimension, of which proxemics is only a part, is one in which both humans and their environment participate in molding each other. Humans are in a position of creating the worlds in which they live, which determine what kind of an organism they will be. Social distance is a psychological distance that contains a group, maintaining a bond. Hall goes on to examine the nature of the human receptor systems, and how the information received from them is modified by culture. People’s relationship to their environment is a function of their sensory apparatus and how this apparatus is conditioned to respond. There are visual, auditory, olfactory, kinesthetic, tactile and thermal perceptions of space. Regarding thermal perceptions, Hall describes the high capacity of the skin to emit and detect radiant heat and thus communicate emotional states and chemically influence other people’s emotions, temperature having a great deal to do with how we experience crowding. According to Hall, we live an increasingly insulated, automated, sensory-deprived life in manufactured environments; urban spaces provide little excitement or visual variation and virtually no opportunity to build a repertoire of visual experiences. It would appear that many people are kinesthetically deprived and even cramped. Perception of space is closely related with the sense of self. People can be considered as...
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