Experience changes physical being

The fact that experiences change children’s physical well–being has been agreed on in child psychology and in pedagogy for several decades. When adults face trauma, this is also acknowledged. But when we discuss adults as professionals who run their lives, the distance between what they do physically and how they think and feel is often not acknowledged. It is accepted, from a medical point of view, that certain styles of living and working influence the physical well–being of a person. The latest brain research proves that for adults as well as children there is a relationship between the physical experience and the cognitive and emotional reaction and the possible development that will occur as a result of this physical experience. It appears that new neural networks are formed throughout life, even when people are older, and physical activity influences this deeply (Tokoro & Steels 2003).

In a common sense kind of way people realize the physical functioning of other actors they meet: a builder moves and thinks differently to a secretary or a dancer, a nurse moves and thinks differently to a doctor. Status, success, effort, perseverance and training, being perceived and seeing others, exhaustion and boredom, these all influence how people also physically react to what occurs. In the clash between intention and realization in natural presence there is a physical effect that informs the thinking and conscious effort to understand what has happened.

The physical clash between intention and realization in mediated presence is much more complex. In mediated presence only parts of the actor are mediated. Mediated communication can have all sorts of physical effects due to the use of the interface or triggered by the emotional and cognitive involvement in the mediated communication. The enactment of being in mediated presence can be as physically intense — if not more so — than in natural presence. Without basic energy in natural presence, and without consistent attention to the basic needs of natural presence such as food, water and excretion, there can be no mediated presence. When these are attended to, and when one is engrossed, it can feel as if there are two bodies, two enactments of being, that have to be maintained and produced, and these can also collide.