Body politic

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Arguably, different meanings can be given to body postures as described in Lori Anderson’s “Stand powerfully and you’ll feel powerful” (Perspective, 8 August).

Is it a coincidence that “legs apart and arms above the head” is also symbolic of surrender? Or that “crouching down and wrapping our arms around ourselves” is redolent of people in captivity?

The meanings of body language are both social and historically contextual and not reducible to neurobiology.

Surely what is being described is role playing in order to influence behaviour from a dramaturgical perspective? Shouldn’t we remember: “All the world’s a stage/And all the men and women merely players”?

What we all share in common is “human competence”, for example a brain, but there is great cultural diversity in the meanings of our “performances”.

Ellis Thorpe

Old Chapel Walk

Inverurie, Aberdeenshire

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