The Odyssey of the Body between Communication and Mediation

Abstract

The present paper investigates the status of the body as an image and its new forms of cultural coding. The first part analyses, from the historical point of view, the dualism of the relation soul/body marking the essential changes that it had experimented through the history of the occidental thinking. As an example, modern philosophy introduces a change of perspective by representing a soul immanent to a body like an essence immanent to a phenomenon. This gradually leads to the idea that what makes us unique and gives us individual identity is in fact our body since it is the body itself that renders the generically universal consciousness a self-consciousness. The next step analyses the mutation from body-communication to communication-body relation, from the idea of body-language to body-communication witch was possible and could only develop in an environment dedicated to the therapy of interpersonal relationships or, generally speaking, of communication. The last part of the text develops the idea of the Swiss anthropologist Adolf Portmann in which the surface of the body is not a simple protective coat but a special sense organ that functions in the most various ways, primarily to create an appearance defined as what is visible, what is actually being revealed.

Keywords: image, body, soul, communication, mediation, language, interpretation, appearance


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