The Medium is the Message
"The major advances in civilization are processes that all but wreck the societies in which they occur"
"The medium, or process, of our time-electric technology-is reshaping and restructuring patterns of social interdependence and every aspect of our personal life. lt is forcing us to reconsider and reevaluate practically every thought, every action, and every institution formerly taken for granted. Everything is changing - you, your family, your neighborhood, your education, your job, your government, your relation to "the others." And they're changing dramatically.
Societies have always been shaped more by the nature of the media by which men communicate than by the content of the communication. The alphabet, for instance, is a technology that is absorbed by the very young child in a completely unconscious manner, by osmosis so to speak. Words and the meaning of words predispose the child to think and act automatically in certain ways. The alphabet and print technology fostered and encouraged a fragmenting process, a process of specialism and of detachment. Electric technology fosters and encourages unification and involvement. It is impossible to understand social and cultural changes without a knowledge of the workings of media.
The older training of observation has become quite irrelevant in this new time, because it is based on psychological responses and concepts conditioned by the former technology-mechanization.
Innumerable confusions and a profound feeling of despair invariably emerge in periods of great technological and cultural transitions. Our "Age of Anxiety" is, in great part, the result of trying to do today's job with yesterday's tools-with yesterday's concepts.
Youth instinctively understands the present environment-the electric drama. lt lives mythically and in depth. This is the reason for the great alienation between generations. Wars, revolutions, civil uprisings are interfaces within the new environments created by electric informational media."
"Few Catholic scholars would claim the late Herbert Marshall McLuhan as one of their own. But this unswerving Catholic convert and pop-culture luminary had much to say about the effect of the media on society."
He said the celerity of communication � in which the "sender is sent" � has for all practical purposes rendered the human being bodiless, "essentially discarnate�. Much of his [modern man's] own sense of unreality may stem from this." He worried especially about what this may hold for Christianity. "Discarnate man is not compatible with an incarnate Church," he wrote to Clare Boothe Luce in 1979.
McLuhan feared that the merging of global consciousness through instantaneous communication was dissipating human individuality, the sense that each person is a unique, bodily image of God. It is from this direction that he arrived in the pro-life movement, once leading a march for life on Ottawa. http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/media/me0023.html
Please read any Marshall McLuhan book you can find. He was consultor of the Pontifical Commission for Social Communications.
one of Mcluhans books related a quote from a public message by Pope Pius in February 1950: "It is not an exaggeration to say that the future of modern society and the stability of its inner life depend in large part on the maintenance of an equilibrium between the strength of the techniques of communication and the capacity of the individual's own reaction." In other words, the more powerful these media are, the more adept we must be at discerning their messages or effects, ill or good.
This book has much in common with McLuhans analysis:
"The Conquest of Cool
Business Culture, Counterculture, and the Rise of Hip Consumerism"
by Thomas Frank
In a famously cynical essay that appeared in Ramparts in 1967, Warren Hinckle pointed out that, for all the rhetoric of alienation, the inhabitants of the Haight-Ashbury were "brand name conscious" and "frantic consumers."
In this commercial sense, the hippies have not only accepted assimilation . . . , they have swallowed it whole. The hippie culture is in many ways a prototype of the most ephemeral aspects of the larger American society; if the people looking in from the suburbs want change, clothes, fun, and some lightheadedness from the new gypsies, the hippies are delivering�and some of them are becoming rich hippies because of it.
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