Saturday, April 30, 2011

MoMday Night Seminar 09: Available for FREE Download

McLuhan on Maui MoMday Seminar 09, 25 April 2011.
Special guests: Dave Newfeld (again!).

Audio available for download HERE.

The initial focus of the seminar is the correspondence between Scott Taylor and Bob Dobbs (see: "FIBONACCI AND THE ECSTATIC DIGITAL CLUB SCENE: Musings on the April 18/11 Seminar"). Scott Taylor was special guest for MoMday Seminar 06.

The Enemy Sessions 04

Bob Dobbs and Andrew Chrystall discuss Inscriptorium, a blog by Andrew McLuhan. 

According to Andrew "[Inscriptorium] is a blog about discovering the work of Eric McLuhan and his father, Marshall McLuhan; it’s about the paths which led to their discoveries, the triumphs and disappointments along the way; and it’s about me." In the blog Andrew is bringing to light some of the contents of McLuhan's private library (approx. 5000 volumes) and the marginalia in those works.

The Enemy Sessions 04 (
part Apart Bpart C (tailgate)).

Friday, April 29, 2011

PROMPT: Distracting the Trigger Men ...

“The university is increasingly important as a place for ambush only … No college, business or city is run by human persons anymore. I have yet to meet someone who knows what they are doing let alone why … Abdication of the human motive is now plan. How to tackle the situation of zombie and sleepwalkers. You can’t argue, they agree and move on. There is no more disagreement.” McLuhan, Marshall. Letter to Ezra Pound. 30 July 1948.

PROMPT: Media Fallout

advertising is a vast military operation
openly and brashfully intended to conquer the human spirit.

we don't understand information movement and image-making as warfare at all
we call this advertising
actually, Madison Avenue is a major military operation
vastly aggressive
out to conquer empires and territories
within the human heart and the human senses
it is a huge military operation of empire building and icon making

if we had the slightest consciousness of social responsibility
instead of just a sort of private subconscious
--totally inadequate to our technology--
we would teach our children how to protect themselves against media and advertising fallout

in a time like this
where the written word and the spoken word
through commercial media
reaches millions of people
with tremendous force
with the prestige of huge agencies of expression behind them
it seems above all important that intense training in language is demanded
IF the society is to retain its health

the critics of advertising miss the bus entirely by complaining about false claims
nothing could be more or less important than the false claims of advertising
it is the total icon-making activity that matters

(a programmed teaching machine)

advertising is a vast military operation
openly and brashfully intended to conquer the human spirit

it's simply fantastic:
the unconsciousness of our western world
with regard the forces that we release upon it
and the little areas in which we permit ourselves any consciousness or any responsibility are minute compared to the real areas of impact

(a vast military operation)
(a programmed teaching machine)
(out to conquer)
(icon making)

Intense training in language is demanded if the society is to retain its health

If we had the slightest consciousness of social responsibility
we would teach our children how to protect themselves against media fallout and advertising fallout.

PROMPT: "The Modern Media are Engaged in a Luciferian Conspiracy Against the Truth."

"The new media are not toys ;
they should not be in the hands
of Mother Goose and Peter Pan executives"

PROMPT: The Cut Up Technique

“Burroughs uses what he calls “Brion Gysin’s cut-up method which I call the fold-in method.” To read the daily newspaper in its entirety is to encounter the method in all its purity. Similarly, an evening watching television programs is an experience in a corporate form — an endless succession of impressions and snatches of narrative. Burroughs is unique only in that he is attempting to reproduce in prose what we accommodate every day as a commonplace aspect of life in the electric age. If the corporate life is to be rendered on paper, the method of discontinuous nonstory must be employed.”

Read Notes on Burroughs (Nation Magazine 1964)by Marshall McLuhan :

PROMPT: Lip Sync

Thursday, April 28, 2011

PROMPT: Lighten Up

“One of the reasons Chesterton exasperated so many was his concern with formal causality. He was vividly aware of his public and their need to be cheered and straightened out.” McLuhan, Marshall. Formal Causality in G.K Chesterton. The Chesterton Review 11. 2 (1976 Spring/Summer).

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Monday, April 25, 2011

PROMPT: Causae Ad Invicem Causae Sunt

"Finnegans Wake is the greatest guidebook to media study ever fashioned by man."
- Marshall McLuhan, Newsweek Magazine, p.56, February 28, 1966

Each thunderclap is a resonating logos that represents a transformation of human
culture. McLuhan presents the thunders as encoding Joyce's study of ten major
communications revolutions, ranging from neolithic technologies such as speech
and fire, through cities, the railroad, and print, to radio, movies, and television.
Seen in this fashion, Finnegans Wake is both an encyclopedia of the effects of
technology in reshaping human culture and society, and a complete training
course for detecting the changes in sensibility occasioned by new media.

FW003 (thunder):

FW023 (thunder):

FW044 (clap):

FW090 (whore):


FW257 (shut the door):



FW414 (cough):

FW424 (Norse gods):
The tenth and last has 101 letters, making 1001 letters in all.
Joyce's Wake is claimed to be a gigantic cryptogram which reveals a cyclic pattern for the whole history of man through its Ten Thunders. Each "thunder" below is a 100-character portmanteau of other words to create a statement he likens to an effect that each technology has on the society into which it is introduced. In order to glean the most understanding out of each, the reader must break the portmanteau into separate words (and many of these are themselves portmanteaus of words taken from multiple languages other than English) and speak them aloud for the spoken effect of each word. There is much dispute over what each portmanteau truly denotes.
McLuhan claims that the ten thunders in Wake represent different stages in the history of man:
  • Thunder 1: Paleolithic to Neolithic. Speech. Split of East/West. From herding to harnessing animals.
  • Thunder 2: Clothing as weaponry. Enclosure of private parts. First social aggression.
  • Thunder 3: Specialism. Centralism via wheel, transport, cities: civil life.
  • Thunder 4: Markets and truck gardens. Patterns of nature submitted to greed and power.
  • Thunder 5: Printing. Distortion and translation of human patterns and postures and pastors.
  • Thunder 6: Industrial Revolution. Extreme development of print process and individualism.
  • Thunder 7: Tribal man again. All choractors end up separate, private man. Return of choric.
  • Thunder 8: Movies. Pop art, pop Kulch via tribal radio. Wedding of sight and sound.
  • Thunder 9: Car and Plane. Both centralizing and decentralizing at once create cities in crisis. Speed and death.
  • Thunder 10: Television. Back to tribal involvement in tribal mood-mud. The last thunder is a turbulent, muddy wake, and murk of non-visual, tactile man.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

PROMPT: The Wake's Ten Thunders Rendered in Beatbox Font

"There are ten thunders in the Wake. Each is a cryptogram or codified explanation of the thundering and reverberating consequences of the major technological changes in all human history. When a tribal man hears thunder, he says, 'What did he say that time?', as automatically as we say 'Gesundheit.'" -- Marshall McLuhan

Friday, April 22, 2011

Proposed Themes for the MoMday Seminar 09 (April 25)

FIBONACCI AND THE ECSTATIC DIGITAL CLUB SCENE: Musings on the April 18/11 MoMday Night Colloquia with Dave Newfeld--by Scott Taylor

The club scene (/social media); the anti-cave cave; the cave in; not the place to unwind DNA but the place to wind up as in re-connecting all the damaged disconnected audile-tactility of the general environment; the “ecstasy” (MDMA; serotonin over-activation/depletion; reduction of present forms of anxiety through the creation of new forms of anxiety; creates long-term brain-damage) of self- and group-liquidation (buzz, whaa-whaa, anamorphic distorted eye and ear and mouth environments inside and out; self- and group-loquacity as smart drink, smart drug, with more immediate neurological connection but in a dumbing-down environment for hyper-numbing procedures, i.e., in a minimalist, chill environment engineered for pseudo-social networking -- so socializing without society, identity-making without identity and so on).

The total decontextualizing of the digital has created the totally detribalized tribe, i.e. the virtual dithyrambic; virtual rhapsody of the social autist is a form of neo-capitalistic, neo-fundamentalist crowd control; ecstasy as pseudo-pan-trance, pseudo-empathy. The club scene is a panoptical-panholorgic counter-classroom penitentiary for maximizing hedonic calculus (the greatest pleasure of the now at the expense of the past and the future).

McLuhan thought that the resonant intervals created by the new electronic, electrical anti-environment environment -- the mosaic world of intervals -- would generate a violent reconditioning, but such is “deconditioning” too in that it wipes out previous neurological connectivity and behaviour at the same time it standardizes and destandardizes the present (ecstasy) and obliterates future connection. The use of ecstasy depletes psycho-physiology of the ability to forge new communicated structures. So as techno-culture invents (privileges) new drugs (trends) and telecommunications, there is a kind of homeostatic equilibrium dynamic whereby a drug like ecstasy depletes communication (and information) at the same time telecommunications provide extra communication (and information).

What we see in Africa re: the social networking and Googling of the political environment is the emergence of the population (the Syrian rave; the Libyan rave and so on) into a new supposedly democratic “identity,” when in fact the “identity” provided by Facebook, et al., is absolutely ersatz and the farthest thing from anything democratic in the least. Human rights have been obsolesced. The illusion of human rights is the order of the day. People simply do not realize that they have been reorganized into – among other digital, electronic structures – cloud computing orders of neo-capitalist-economic-fundamentalist-anarchist-democratic-fascist-socialist-non-ideological-anti-ideological-stats-systemics.

The drive to contextualize the decontextual, to resocialize the desocialized generates the “club scene” and “social media.” Both expressions are double oxymorons -- there is no longer a social scene in the traditional sense – it isn’t a hierarchical hegemonic club or church or cult; networking is dead (remember McLuhan’s axiom that abundance is the moment of obsolescence); it is all accident ; people are simply being conditioned/deconditioned flesh bags and mouth pieces for social drugs and plugs that don’t mean anything anymore – mass numbness; collective numbness. All times and all spaces digitally spliced together . . . people digitally slaughtered and sutured together; ritual without content; the decortextualized right-brain; nor is there coherent integrated integrating systemic media process or progress or procedure, just the universal injunction to “stop making sense” – from the aesthetic mandate of the ‘60s “against interpretation” (Sontag et al.) to the ‘80s “stop making sense” (David Byrne) and so on – ecstasy as in body-to get out of body through synaesthetic sensory smear -- multimedia now provides a digital sampling-scrambling of old cognitive contexts, a shredded happening hot-glued into a monstrating but de-synchronized now, the mind-brain-body as static electronic confetti in a anti-analogical cross-referenced chemical flurry / hence the simultaneous is no longer the simultaneous it used to be.

We no longer think analogically so much as in double double doubling oxymorons / mixed metaphors or inappropriate metaphors, allusions and catachresis. Contradition and paradox have become obsolete as categories of thought simply because there are too many of them to pattern into anything resembling logical/illogical thought. The epyllionstructure of Yeats’s “emotion of multitude” has been imploded/exploded. So both contemporary “analogizing” and traditional cognitive analogia are no longer possible for co-ordination and orchestration of the mind-brain-body in terms of techno-culture. Hence the idea that there are cultural or techno-cultural “memes” is erroneous. Such would have been based upon natural (environmental) and civilized (language educed, deduced and induced) analogia, but the natural and the civilized are for the most part gone as ministrations and administrations. It is, therefore, both impossible to be either “conscious” or “unconscious” anymore.

We have destroyed the divine approach of our “golden mean” for the sake of a “digital mean.” We have destroyed our common sense for the sake of a “digital commons.” Oddly enough there is no fractal universe in a digital universe or a digital environment, although a digital environment gives us the illusion of an infinite fractal “representation.”

All this leads to general loss of coordination and orchestration: hence an electromagnetic spectrum of social autism, social aphasia, social dyslexic, social aphasia, social Alzheimer’s et cetera. When looking for new forms of pathology defined by language phenomenology it is important to remember a number of things: 1) there are no real, so-called “learning disorders” since different environments, contexts and cultures require different learning processes and “select” for different learning advantages (i.e., all Inuit have dyslexia because to orient in a totally snow-bound environmental condition a complete mind-brain-body circumspection is necessary for survival); 2) all supposed “ament” conditions develop neurological compensations which can be often more astute and perceptive than neurological comprehension in a natural condition (i.e., the labiality of the mind-brain-body is much more flexible than previously understood with incredible abilities for neuroplasticity which reveal astonishing potentials for re-defining and re-describing homo sapiens sapiens); 3) the entire mind-brain-body generates language production and comprehension and so it is inappropriate to single out any specific neurological locality in order to clinically diagnose the language change of any particular culture. So a global holistic perspective has to be adopted and all such diagnosis becomes increasingly perceptual.

Comments by Bob Dobbs sent to Scott:
(April 21)
What you describe, Scott, is the anamorphosis in the ANDROID Meme among its constituents. The AM is not actually talking TO us.

That is the "global holistic perspective to be adopted" and which is "increasingly (a)perceptual."

(April 22)
I'm thinking today, Scotus, that your concern about "Analogia"/tactile proportionality being fragmented by digitality is actually a prayer for "matching" (visual bias) while kneeling on a cautious nod to the Buddhist manuscript-generated "void".

The above statement reminds me of McLuhan's later discovery that Lewis' stated eye-bias was actually a confused plea for the TACTILE eye - only I'm noticing you're doing the reverse (Scotus' stated tactile-"bias" is a plea for collective matching, or community).

Scott Taylor's response to Dobbs' comments (April 24):
As for my general thought, I am trying as hard as I can to think "beyond" the Android Meme as a defensive, creative action. McLuhan's thought leads us directly to definitions and descriptions of the Android Meme -- with or without determinist gestalts -- and while his guidance has been mandatory I feel that it also gets in the way of the woods and trees, partially because it is a language net or web itself with so many associations that it can become impossible or difficult to navigate by twos or threes. He knew this himself of course and talks about the problems of infinite rhetorical exegesis. I find his characterizations of the sensory modes too figurative to map the full psycho-physiology of the human condition. In other words, his basic insight into the nature of communication is deeper than his argument regarding it. So his thought regarding the similarities and differences between and among perceptions and conceptions -- and then apperceptions (as in Hebart's idea of the process whereby a manifold of presentations and presentiments become systemically and systematically incorporated) -- becomes the analogical transformation of epiphenomenon into one epiphany after another, each of which in turn are discarded after living example. Now, don't get me wrong: I love this about him (and his Joyce), but do not find it a practical and, yes, pragmatic example to follow along social lines, i.e., his educational manifestos are somewhat idiotic (new generations are already doing what he suggested and so the problem is not how to educate new generations but how to deal with generation gap in the context of experimental techno-culture gone mad).

McLuhan's notion of "consciousness" is problematic partially in my view because we are only conscious of what is out of balance, and so "consciousness-raising" after McLuhan's educational principles would only generate greater imbalance. I say so because it is human nature to think always in terms of what Cicero called "apparent advantage" (in THE NATURE OF THE GODS) and therefore to become damned. Barbara Tuchman, the historian, has also discussed this in terms of "decision-making against self-interest." It is simply thinking of short-term gain without regard for nature to make its way, that is the problem of consciousness, as, ha ha, William Burroughs certainly maintained.

To my way of thinking while dreams may be the royal road to the "unconscious," language is the royal road to the "conscious," and "consciousness" is the process whereby we attempt to control our attention (as a vortex). I think of attention as rooted in the unique, spiritual biochemistry of the fusion of egg and sperm in terms of all subsequent morphological development. I think of the development of personal, monadic autistic, private language as the organic development which attempts to control attention. Then social forms of language become the intersubjective consensual hallucination whereby we manipulate a lexicon or index of trance states or internal processes (personal) for the benefit of external processes (social) and vice-versa.

What has happened is that through inappropriate anthropomorphics born of distortions in our analogical refinements (the extension of human organic qualities to non-human inorganic quantities) and through the loss of logocentricity (as suggested by Ludwig Klages the tendency of the human being to centre communication in the Greek logos) (the inappropriate recentring of the spiritual reason in electrical-electronic positivism), and then the dissolution of scale and value as presented by the quantum, is that we can no longer claim appropriate environmental orientation. William James (after Ribot and Charcot, Freud's teacher) and Gertrude Stein (after James) both held that the diseases and problems of the future would be diseases of attention. It is remarkable to think that the first percepts and concepts regarding diseases of attention, specifically in terms of what we now call ADHD and ADD, were in 1798 (see Alexander Crichton), and it is an irony that the Enlightenment provides the empiricist means to diseased ends where the development of telecommunications and attention and consciousness is involved.

So, yes, the so-called Android Meme is involved in the senso-cide and gender-cide and human genocide that involves the (a)perceptual (the non- or im- perceptual or destruction of perception) instant real-time global demise. McLuhan's term "liquidation" is appropriate here given the idea of all form and structure becoming "liquid" (as in "liquid architecture" or digital architecture for the internet) for the sake of technological political-economic imperatives -- not, of course, that we can talk about political-economic imperatives or any appropriate analogy, liquid or otherwise. (I think, too, of "liquid" in terms of a phase transition.)

Yes, my whole life is a prayer.

Analogia is both making and matching. A major analogy for this in universal-multiversal terms is the electromagnetic spectrum in a grandiloquent flux.

My sense of the "void" is in terms of quantum-classical zero point energy field and the Buddhist idea that all human perception and conception is illusory, and that the "source" of such illusion is the "void." [The Buddhist "void" is the universal-multiversal mind where the illusory is created so that All-Real Reality (a Kabbalistic notion) is protected, as in the Holy of Holies (a transdisciplinary spiritual notion).] I apply both to the common idea of the internet as an artificial digital black hole void. This complex of associations is related to my meditation on human spirituality. My idea of the spiritual is all revelatory insight regarding the manifestation of the transformative unique on a universal-multiversal tonoscopic scale. One idea of the apocalypse is to "go to the centre" or a "going to the centre." Black Hole/White Hole Physics and metaphysics is a "going to the centre" and "coming out of such universal-multiversal centring" in terms of the God whose transformational centre is everywhere through all scale, state and dimension. I refer to the tonoscope in the same way that I think McLuhan might, in that a universal-multiversal tonoscope would reveal the cymatics of a universal-multiversal language that was trans-substantial, trans-valuative and becoming infinitely more and more original even as we speak.

As for my own optimism, I attempt to enact the opposite of a de Sadean (mechanical, deconstructive, enlightenment) imagination, and proffer the annihilation of the notion of a mechanical de Sadean universe where all is permitted. Such a de Sadean notion is an illusion and if adopted as it has been by a selfish mechanical materialism like that of Dawkins can produce delusion and the medical criminality (anti-society) of such. Illusion is permitted so that the creation will know illusion and not follow its example. (Empathy is not mimesis; it is the on-going flowing reality of psychic extension and intention; it is not making or matching; it is being as in following through in harmony or concert with -- or not.) Simply the "unreal imagination" allows creation this knowledge in order to gainsay experience of All-Real Reality, that is the All-Real Reality trans-void (through, above and beyond the void).

My comments re: nostalgia for the visual are partially addressed in my meditation on the virtual (as attached here and elsewhere). As Yeats said, all things can tempt me, and I want the best of the Apollonian and the best of the Dionysian. I want the best of the Greeks and the best of the Hebrew. I want the aesthetics that William Blake described as Hebrew in Egyptian art (the bounding line). I want renaissance, restoration, neo-classicism, realism, naturalism, magic realism, surrealism and liquid architecture. Flaubert was wrong when he said "Madame Bovary, c'est moi!" I am Madame Bovary. If I was to commit suicide, I would want to commit suicide by a spiritual hedonism something like St. Teresa. I don't want magical thinking like primitive animism and false analogy, I want the pan-sensory trans-sensory spiritual analogia that McLuhan talked about during his last days. I will never forget the day he walked brightly, briskly into the common room at The Centre, circa. 1978, and said something to the effect: "Scott! Great discoveries! Everyday! Great news! Great discoveries! Today we [Eric and I] discovered that analogies are TRUE!" So then back to the idea that any single analogy (magical thinking) is false, but the set of all analogies is TRUE (All-Real Reality). To live such an idea is for me (and McLuhan) to be at play in the fields of our lord.

The trick then is to outwit the Trickster God (Hermes, Mercury, Hamlet) and distinguish the real analogies from the false. That is my mode of inquiry. That is my master's voice. Ha ha.

[Back issue] Hi Cybernaughts!

[Back issues of Scott Taylor's low tech anti-blog blog in search of hi-tech art-science]



















































McLuhan in The Manitoban From 1931 to 1933

Not Spiritualism but Spiritism. The Manitoban, 19 January 1934.

Public School Education. The Manitoban, 17 October 1933.

Morticians and Cosmeticians. The Manitoban, 2 March 1934.

An Interview with Dr. Johnson

Germany's Development. The Manitoban, 3 November 1933.

Germany and Internationalism. The Manitoban, 27 October 1933.

German Character. The Manitoban, 7 November 1933.

George Meredith. The Manitoban, 21 November 1933.

De Valera. The Manitoban, 9 January 1934.

Canada and Internationalism. The Manitoban, 1 December 1933.

Adult Education. The Manitoban, 16 February 1934.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

That Not-So-Silent Sea

“He was basically a poet,” says Ted Carpenter, the renowned anthropologist and collaborator with McLuhan on the journal Explorations. “He was a jester, a shaman.” All wonderful personas, but none of them much welcome in the academy then -- or now. The more popular he became, the more his colleagues questioned his insights. In retrospect, the backlash seems inevitable."

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

MoM Seminar 08 Available for FREE download

McLuhan on Maui
MoMday Night Seminar 08, 18 April 2011.
Special guests: Dave Newfeld.

Available for FREE download HERE.

More background on Dave can be found in an interview by Scott Woods. Another interview with Dave can be found here.

McLuhan-Innis Letter March 14 1951

Harold Innis in military hospital (c1918) (1)
(1) A footnote under stands/stands under/with stands the body text.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Gutenberg Galaxy: "It Seems To Me a Book That Somebody Should Have Written a Century Ago"

"I'm not concerned to get any kudos out of [The Gutenberg Galaxy]. It seems to me a book that somebody should have written a century ago. I wish somebody else had written it. It will be a useful prelude to the rewrite of Understanding Media [the 1960 NAEB report] that I'm doing now.

The original cover for the work exhibits two interlocking G’s (a smaller “G,” in reverse, inside the curvature of the lager) in the image of a Vortex: “The structural theme of Spiral presents the oscillation of two simultaneously and complementary cones or spirals, constituting the synchronic worlds of birth and death. Spiral is not a diachronic or lineal structure but synchronic and contrapuntal interplay in a resonating structure whose centre is everywhere and circumference nowhere,” (Sorel Etrog, and Marshall McLuhan, Images from the Film Spiral (Toronto: Exile Editions, 1987), 125).

"...Dressed in an Ill-Fitting Brown Tweed Suit, Black Shoes and a Clip-On Necktie"

" Tall, grey and gangly, with a thin but mobile mouth and an otherwise eminently forgettable face ..."

" He sits in a little office off on the edge of the University of Toronto that looks like the receiving bin of a second-hand book store, grading papers, grading papers, for days on end, wearing-well, he doesn't seem to care what he wears. If he feels like it, he just puts on the old striped tie with the plastic neck band. You just snap the plastic band around your neck and there the tie is, hanging down and ready to go, Pree-Tide. "
" wearing a seersucker jacket and the plastic neckband tie... "