Saturday, November 8, 2003

Today's McLuhany

McLuhany #2: "The medium is the message"

"In a culture like ours, long accustomed to splitting and dividing all things as a means of control, it is sometimes a bit of a shock to be reminded that,... the medium is the message. ...That the personal and social consequences of any medium...result from the new scale that is introduced into our affairs by each extension of ourselves, or by any new technology. Thus, with automation, for example, the new patterns of human association tend to eliminate jobs..."

- from Understanding Media (pg. 7)

(Note: I wish to thank the MIT Press from granting me permission to quote from Marshall McLuhan's "Understanding Media" on my weblog. To conserve space on my post, I will be referring to these quotes as "from Understanding Media")

My thoughts: What is this message he's speaking about? I think he means it's how we've transformed ourselves in the use of the medium, or the use of the extensions. Even if we don't use it, we are already transformed because most of the people around us are using it, and they in turn affect us. (Heh, heh,.. I was certainly transformed by using the blog!)

The part about how automation tend to eliminate jobs illuminates the critical social changes we find ourselves complaining about - rising unemployment. If only society could accept that change is inevitable and that through our inventions, our quest for development, for growth, for even evolution, we have brought these changes upon ourselves. McLuhan offers us a connective perspective as a balm to heal or make whole our 'splitting', our specialized, isolationary mindset by trying to tell us how to understand media so that we can design it to serve us rather than having us blindly serving the media, as we did with the machine.

Your thoughts?

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