The Hidden Dimension

This is Edward T. Hall’s follow up The Silent Language. Culture is still the key driver of this book, however instead of considering how different cultures use and interpret body language, he is looking at space. Not as in outer space, but as in the space between objects, at least that is my American perspective. He defines this as the study of proxemics.

The book starts by illustrating how differences in space cause animals to react differently. He does this in a number of ways, from discussing experiments with rats to exposing the lion tamer’s tricks. Once the effects of space have been clearly illustrated, he moves on to people and their cultural variations

Similar to The Silent Language, Hall considers how cultural variations of spacial interpretations may show up in other aspects of people’s lives. He moves from what writing samples might say about people’s views on space right into the different types of spaces that people react to.

From my American perspective it was very interesting to consider a book dedicated to the emptiness things occupy. I appreciated having that idea turned upside down by his examples of the powerful effects of this emptiness, as well as how the idea of “emptiness” is not a universal one.

Overall I appreciate the ability Hall’s books have to force me to reconsider my reality. It is exciting for me to discover a wealth of depth in aspects of life I previously took for granted.