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64 Mobility Body and

64 Mobility Body and Distance Long before the concept of freedom from barriers was accepted as standard in public building regulations, there was in practice a distinction between the terms animate and inanimate, whose derivation is to be found in wider contexts. 122 An example from Merleau-Ponty shows what the position is when a stone is thrown. “The phenomenon of the movement itself, or the theoretical side of the movement, shows, for instance, that the stone that is thrown is not an identity, to which the movement would be external, but the movement itself. Objects are primarily determined by their behavior, not through static properties. Other present-day philosophical explanations emphasize the idea that the understanding of movement which underlies and precedes all theories is itself a matter of a particular kind of thought and not an institution.” 123 It thus becomes clear that movement can be described in a less abstract way but that, in connection with bodies, it always tends to appear as a phenomenon that should be understood in its entirety. With this posit, Merleau-Ponty succeeds in recalling that movement is something that is original and shows different characteristics at particular stages of life. Significant scientific sources for research into cognition are the aspects of developmental psychology and medical research—at the stage they had reached in the early 1950s—that Merleau-Ponty integrated into the field of phenomenology. Questions of physicality become the basis of focused theoretical movements, which in turn lead to psychomotor domain. The distinction between person, room, and environment is overcome and the human body is put first. “We must therefore avoid saying that our body is in space, or in time. It inhabits space and time.” 124 Movements leave traces and are inscribed in memories which are actually stored in the limbs. The image of the thinking hand, which the architectural anthropologist Juhani Pallasmaa has developed into a history of culture, 125 explains that hands and feet function like organs. According to Pallasmaa’s interpretation, our bodies are subdivided into various zones, which actively exchange information with one another, but without creating a hierarchy. Merleau-Ponty wrote: “My field of perception

MOBILITY 65 is constantly filled with a play of colors, noises, and fleeting tactile sensations, which I cannot relate precisely to the context of my clearly perceived world, yet which I nevertheless immediately ‘place’ in the world, without ever confusing them with my daydreams.” 126 Separating sensory perception from the human body, which becomes aware and assured of itself in the processes of perception, individualizes the act. “Truth does not ‘inhabit’ only ‘the inner man’, or more accurately there is no inner man … and only in the world does he know himself.” 127 In the field of a phenomenology extended to include cognitive performance, he updates the practice of a theory of perception that can only partially be generalized as physical experience. “Sensationalism ‘reduces’ the world by noting that after all we never experience anything but states of ourselves. … The eidetic reduction is, on the other hand, the determination to bring the world to light as it is before any falling back on ourselves.” 128 The individual is characterized by sensory experiences. “To seek the essence of perception is to declare that perception is, not presumed true, but defined as access to truth.” 129 Various sources can be equally important for deciphering regularly occurring events. “True philosophy consists in relearning to look at the world, and in this sense a historical account can give meaning to the world quite as ‘deeply’ as a philosophical treatise.” 130 We move around in our environment and are stimulated by attractions and turn toward them. “Our perceptual field is made up of ‘things’ and ‘spaces between things’.” 131 Thus the distances between things acquire the status of a space that can be newly evaluated in the way that has been developed as aura or atmosphere from Benjamin to Böhme. Merleau-Ponty has described this distance: “If we set ourselves to see as things the intervals between them, the appearance of the world would be just as strikingly altered.” 132 We seem to be predestined from the start to have to detect vital functions in all things. “This rich notion of sense experience is still to be found in Romantic usage, for example in Herder. It points to an experience in which we are given not ‘dead’ qualities, but active ones. … Vision is already inhabited by a meaning (sens) which gives it a function in the spectacle of the world and in our existence.” 133 Personalized perception, which is crucially dependent on a stimulating environment, has been proven to have properties that are relevant for recognition. It even appears that “a true and exact world” 134 has its first source in perception. In the human body, in the process of sensory comprehension a center is formed that functions only when a vital cognitive area is available. “It was necessary to link to centripetal conditions the centrifugal phenomenon of expression, reduce to third-person processes that particular way of dealing with the world which we know as behavior, bring experience down to the level of physical nature and convert the living body into an interiorless thing.” 135 The body of the other person is now discovered. “It was merely a machine, and the perception of the other could not really be