Novel Review: The Hidden Dimension by Edward T. Hall
There’s plenty to say about this book, written in the 1960’s, that is still prevalent and if nothing else prophetic. But the dated nature of observations made, in terms of race and sex, get in the way of applying concepts to modern city living.
However, there are gems of interest in connecting lines of species, between humans and animals (both animals really). The way nature responds to the way we are living is robust and dangerous, but we continue to live as though we are not our automobiles, houses, homes, cities, urban and rural societies, culture, and strangely enough, our location. All of these become a part of who we are in modernity, but we neglect them as anything more than a phase.
The car has made man feel larger than he really is while taking all sense of the world around them and meshing it into a blur of miles and time. We are crowding cities at a scary rate, which could cause collapse. Yet our science is so advanced, the fragility of the human body in overcrowded society is fought and balanced so we live longer under conditions that kill animals in the hundreds and thousands. Is it out of control? Or are we a peak and pinnacle of intellectual achievement: to survive outside our means without thinking it’s important or relative?
Intriguing information about the eye, animal instincts, case studies, observations about culture as an evolved facet of life, there’s plenty to take from Edward Hall’s research. The smaller spaces we live in don’t serve our natural inclination for space. But reading this 50 years later, although the problems stated throughout the book are real and concerning, we’re doing alright with our technology and science. The fear is that technology and science will be here in the future without their biological creators.