The Medium is the Message

Posted: March 16, 2011 in The Medium is the Message
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Sixties’ media philosopher Marshall McLuhan discusses how all media are extensions of some human faculty – psychic or physical. This means the will is an extension of the foot, or a book is the extension of the eye. The evidence McLuhan puts forward to prove his argument is very convincing, and is all logically sound. For example, “The phonetic alphabet forced the magical world of the ear to yield to the neutral world of the eye”.

He also discusses how man has gone from villages to individualistic beings due to the technology of the printed word— and because we read books privately, this causes us to become more privately oriented. However, with the invention of the television and the Internet though, we have a constant flow of shared information moving around us, causing people to become more social. So in a sense, we have moved from a village into an individualistic society, back to a village, but on a global scale due to the constant sharing of information.
McLuhan predicted the coming of a Global Village in which telecommunications technology would figuratively shrink the world. He argued that the environment we create is our medium for describing our role in it. In fact, we have moved from a village mentality to an individualistic mentality and are now moving back to the village mentality. These transformations are due to our technology and the way it affects us intimately. He is right, in part, because satellites, the Internet, multinational communications giants, televisions and computers have helped realize his prophecy.
Questions to ponder:
Elitism – At one time, as American music, TV, film, sports, fashion, and food spread worldwide often competing with the local fare. At some point, we were guilty of cultural imperialism. Is this still the case?  Who are the big players and what kind of village have they created today?
Social Media – The media of our time changes our patterns of social interaction and our personal life. What does that mean for today’s digital culture in which cell phones, computers, etc. make it possible to community 24/7. Have we become more or less individualistic? Referring back to Englehart’s bootstrapping principles, have today’s popular media made it easier to collaborate with our peers.
Comments
  1. Eliza says:

    This is a neat surmyma. Thanks for sharing!

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