Thursday, August 25, 2011

McLuhan is Ordinary Awareness Today

Hey baby!! Wake up from you're asleep.

"What may emerge as the most important insight of the twenty-first century is that man was not designed to live at the speed of light. Without the countervailing balance of natural and physical laws, the new video-related media will make man implode upon himself. As he sits in the informational control room, whether at home or at work, receiving data at enormous speeds—imagistic, sound, or tactile—from all areas of the world, the results could be dangerously inflating and schizophrenic. His body will remain in one place but his mind will float out into the electronic void, being everywhere at once in the data bank. Discarnate man is as weightless as an astronaut but can move much faster. He loses his sense of private identity because elec­tronic perceptions are not related to place. Caught up in the hy­brid energy released by video technologies, he will be presented with a chimerical "reality" that involves all his senses at a dis­tended pitch, a condition as addictive as any known drug. The mind, as figure, sinks back into ground and drifts somewhere be­tween dream and fantasy. Dreams have some connection to the real world because they have a frame of actual time and place (usually in real time); fantasy has no such commitment." - McLuhan & Powers. The Global Village: Transformations in World Life and Media in the 21st Century.

McLUHAN: There are grounds for both optimism and pessimism. The extensions of man's consciousness induced by the electric media could conceivably usher in the millennium, but it also holds the potential for realizing the Anti-Christ -- Yeats' rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouching toward Bethlehem to be born. Cataclysmic environmental changes such as these are, in and of themselves, morally neutral; it is how we perceive them and react to them that will determine their ultimate psychic and social consequences. If we refuse to see them at all, we will become their servants. It's inevitable that the world-pool of electronic information movement will toss us all about like corks on a stormy sea, but if we keep our cool during the descent into the maelstrom, studying the process as it happens to us and what we can do about it, we can come through. -- Playboy Interview. 

Q- would not religious leaders tend to welcome the electronic age since much of religion pertains to the so called ‘spirituality?’
MM - I think they have. I think John XXIII was taken in by it. He thought they had come to a great new age of Christianity but it was also an age of anti-Christianity. Interview with Marshall McLuhan, 1974, in The Review of Books and Religion 3(9).

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