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Simon Penny: mind-body relationship in a mediated world

Simon Penny’s position in this article reminds me of the transhumanists philosophy positions.

The crisis he articulates when he discussed our cartesian approach to media has lead to the emergence of new ideas pertaining to mediated communication. My research is starting to see the coexistence of multiple philosophies in networks.

The following diagram gives a sense of large categories that coexist.

communication style coexistence

Simon states:

‘The privileging of ‘mind’ over ‘body’, the abstract over the concrete, is a strong continuous thread in western philosophy, from Christian Neo-Platonism to Descartes and beyond.’
What is occuring in a globalized world is that other type of philosophies are starting to influence western thoughts. Asian philosophies and approaches are finding homes in experience-gaming theories. In these movements aesthetics and narrative structures emerge from the relationship of the entire human to another, let it be another human or mechanical being. All senses become part of meaning making.

Simon Penny also would agree that media represent specific ideological values. But the article shows its age in that contemporary thinking brings the idea of hybrid hierarchies, within a pluralist perspective. Social constructivists tend to argue that we adapt our values to emerging systems and through time create unique forms and systems appropriate to that environment.

Dualism versus pluralist

Penny argues that the dominant streams of that discourse are predicated on dualism and privilege the abstract and transcendent over the embodied and concrete. Looking within education theory, his point is echoed in constructivist learning theories.

Perry created a learning development model that identifies dualist models as the first satge of development within humans.

What is interesting is that the notion of depth in such learning varies from accepted definitions. He argues that the ability to make connections and establish relationships between various belief systems while being grounded in ones’ self is one of the final stages of learning, what he refers to as the commitment within relativism positions. Perry echoes Penny in that they both challenge dualism as a central paradigm. But they differ greatly in that Perry remains within a cartesian model of existence.

I would argue that his model is missing another stage, which is self-awareness within the body. I wonder what asian theorists have to say about that?

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