Index of John Sturdy's ''Personal Space'' pages
``Personal space'' is important to me, but other people seem to have a desparate need for ``contact'', which conflicts with the need for personal space in some of those they seek to use for ``contact''. I've been thinking a lot about this matter, although I'm not convinced I'm getting far. Since several of my writings impinge upon it, and it seems to be an important topic, I'm now giving it a web directory of its own.
It appears to me that there is some kind of connectedness between people, in a way that is not part of the material world. this is sometimes referred to as ``the extended mind'', for example in the work of Rupert Sheldrake, who is one of several experimenters who have tried to look for firm evidence of such effects; a classic experiment which may be relevant to my writings here is Sheldrake's ``staring experiment'', in which one person tries to guess when they are being stared at, and notes this down while someone else alternately stares at them and stops staring at them. The claim is that the correlation between the feeling of being stared at, and actually being stared at, is more than could be explained by coincidence.
My writing on personal space will be in terms of such connectedness, although I am also open to the idea that there may be some simple physical explanation to these effects.
Contact, or connectedness, between people may vary in many ways, one obvious one being whether the contact is friendly or hostile. Another dimension of human contact, particularly relevant to the matter of personal space, is whether one person is drawing something (contact, affirmation) heavily from the other. It seems to me that, perhaps through the connectedness mentioned above, that when somebody draws like that, not only do they receive something,but also the person they are drawing from loses something. (Indeed, Jesus, who perhaps has been drawn upon more than any other person in history, said ``Who touched me? I felt power go out of me!'' when used for healing without asking him first.)
In my own experience, having personal space is not so much a matter of not having other people present, but of not having anyone drawing from you.
Links to essays
I also touch on these matters in some of my general essays, as linked below:
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