The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
The Forum - On Line Opinion's article discussion area


RSS 2.0

Main Articles General

Sign In      Register

The Forum > Article Comments > Marshall McLuhan's message - the media is you > Comments

Marshall McLuhan's message - the media is you : Comments

By Malcolm King, published 25/7/2011

It is McLuhan's thinking on how the media were becoming extensions of our senses that makes him relevant today

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. All
Of course the most important all-consuming medium is TV.
TV has quite literally "created" a new "world", or more correctly collective mind-scape in which we now all "live".
We are quite literally amusing ourselves and the planetary ecological support systems to death.
And yet Margaret Thatcher and her disciples tell us that "there is no other way".

TV IS the message.
It was once called the Idiot Box.
It has simultaneously eliminated any kind of Real Wisdom from the collective mind and cultural possibility, and "created" an idioticized robotic "culture", which now rules the world.
A TV "culture" which is completely indifferent to the welfare of humankind, and of Earth-kind altogether.

TV destroys solitude, reflection, peace and tranquility; it is a system of subconsciously irritating interruptions, and the content of the program is irrelevant to what is occurring in the perceptual activity of consciousness. Actually, content is destroyed by the medium, and noise itself becomes the new environment. So children raised on TV grow up to prefer noisy discos to pubs where one can hear and have a conversation; they grow up to prefer excitement, interruptions, and violence rather than reading, reflection, solitude and meditation.

It isnt just the crime on TV that generates violence; it is the complete environment of instantly shifting imagery, disrupted sequences, and heightened levels of noise that amount to a violent assault on the nervous system that also contributes to our new anti-social medium of noise and violence.

To the extent that in some parts of the USA, violence, and the latent threat of random violence is quite literally "in the air".

The message thus communicated is that people thus presume that they need guns to protect themselves. Of course every new gun just adds to the collective paranoia. Which is to say that a "culture" saturated with guns and violence is already effectively dead as a crucible in which the finer human possibilities, both individually and collectively, can be nurtured - and thus bear fruit.
Posted by Ho Hum, Monday, 25 July 2011 2:33:47 PM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
The message of TV: American Disneyland "culture" has become a commercial from which there is no escape.

Via the medium of TV our collective shadow is served up nonstop 24 hours a day. It expresses repetitive content as if stuck in a never-ending nightmare that specializes in violence, murder, mayhem, deceit, greed, horror, rape, torture, mutilation, revenge, random brutality and cruelty, depravity, and the like.

McLuhan told us to think of all technology in environmental terms because of the way that it envelops us and becomes difficult to perceive. From morning to night we "live" in a "world" that is totally manufactured, a creation of human invention. We are surrounded by pavement, machinery, gigantic steel and concrete structures. Automobiles, airplanes, computers, appliances, TV, electric lights, artificial air have become the physical universe with which our senses interact. Even much of our food is essentially a combination of man-made chemicals and extruded plastic.

They are what we touch, observe and react to. They are all "information", in that they shape how we think and, in the absence of an alternate reality (i.e., nature), what we think about and know.

As we relate (mostly unconsciously) to these objects of our own creation, we begin to merge with them and even assume some of their characteristics.

The more time we spend our lives in this manner, the more these interactions define the perimeters of our experience and vision. They become the framework of our awareness. A perceptual TRAP or cage.

Because technology is now everywhere apparent, pervasive and obvious, we lose awareness of its presence. We are unaware that we are enveloped by a technological and commercial reality, or that we are moving at technological speed. We "live" our lives in reconstructed, human created environments; we are inside manufactured goods.
Posted by Ho Hum, Monday, 25 July 2011 2:56:20 PM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
The dissolution of public discourse in Australia and its conversion into the art of show business is much lamented. Life before TV is part of the 'great forgetting'. It's OUR history of course.

TV is the perfect companion for world obsessed with image to the detriment of content. TV conveys its dialogue in images, not words. Its form works against the content. It's also highly anti-rational. It carries images out of context and time and drops them in our lounge rooms with 'Now, the news....'

I think McLuhan was thinking about TV but hadn't realised its anti-epistemological roots. We are only three generations in to the great TV experiment but I'm far from sure its benefits have out weighed its potential.
Posted by Cheryl, Monday, 25 July 2011 3:11:37 PM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
Once we accept life within a technically mediated reality, we become less aware of anything that preceded it. We have a hard time imagining life before TV, cars, and now (especially) mobile phones.
We do not remember the world of nature and quiet. The INFORMATION that nature offers to our bodies via our senses, all of which are forms of subtle touch, is nearly absent from our lives.

Its little wonder that we find incomprehensible any societies that choose to live within nature. We even refer to such tribal groups as "lost" or "undiscovered".

See how offended all the techno-"realists" were by the recent Avatar film! The Navi Princess told Jake that it was nearly impossible to cure him and his fellow Earthlings of their insanity or psychosis!
Quite so!

With each new generation of technology, and with each stage of technological expansion into pristine environments, human beings have fewer alternatives and become deeply immersed with technological (un)consciousness. We have a harder time seeing a way our way out.

"Living" constantly inside an environment of our own invention, reacting solely to things we ourselves have created, we are essentially living INSIDE OUR OWN MINDS.

Where evolution was once an interactive process between human beings and a natural, un-mediated world, evolution is now an interaction between human beings and our own artifacts.

At each stage of the cycle the changes come faster and are more profound.T he web of interactions among the machines becomes more complex and more invisible, while the total effect is more powerful and pervasive. We become ever more enclosed and ever less aware of that fact. Our environment is so much a product of our invention that it has become a single world-wide machine.We "live" inside it, and are a piece of it.
Posted by Ho Hum, Monday, 25 July 2011 3:23:41 PM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
M K and H H,

It seems as if the baby elephant called Gutenberg that we proudly took to our shack and cared for, grew to be bigger than our door and we had to squeeze out.

Without house or home, under the stare of everybody else like us, we can make laws and laws but cannot kill the beast.

We can wait though until it dies or we die.

It is a race where the winner is who arrives first: Us or the Elephant.
Posted by skeptic, Monday, 25 July 2011 6:48:07 PM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. All

About Us :: Search :: Discuss :: Feedback :: Legals :: Privacy