Friday, April 30, 2010

Book Review: The Medium is the Massage - an inventory of effects

The Medium is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects The Medium is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects by Marshall McLuhan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Marshall McLuhan is/was a modern day prophet. his foreknowledge of what was and would eventually take place in society as a result of rapid technological advancement is nothing short of amazing. No doubt, the global village (a term coined by McLuhan) was a mere blip on the horizon when The Medium is the Massage was written, but McLuhan saw a scratch in the surface and with great insight and foresight he explains how technology functions one way while our human thinking functions another.

Using an array of images and words (McLuhan is quite a wordsmith- some appear to be made up as i couldn't even find a definition for them) McLuhan paints an interactive picture of how technology 'forces us to live mythically' but we continue to think 'fragmentarily on separate plains.'

technology is inter-connected like a ball of yarn, weaved together with no beginning or end.

human thinking is fragmented - like individual puzzle pieces, with each piece placed in different compartments.

what i find incredible is that these insights were written in 1967. 1967!

the first quote cited in his book states "The major advances in civilization are processes that all but wreck the societies in which they occur."

i think we can all potentially see that in light of all of our technological advances in our present day - the more tech - the more problems. yes, technology has certainly brought about rapid advancement in our world - but it comes at a price.

McLuhan taps into the potential cost of tech advancement in the world with amazement. this book could have been written today!

"All media are extensions of some human faculty - psychic or physical." Media is an extension of who we are. McLuhan recognized this long before Facebook or email or the internet or wireless cell phones with text messages were ever a part of our world.

Simply amazing.

This is a creative book. i could go on and on. it is captivating. the art. the text. the typography. the drawings. images. all help prove the point. we can't look at things the same way ever again. if we fail to recognize how media infiltrates life - we fail to exist.

life is no longer linear. it's been gradually becoming less and less - since the inception of the alphabet. media has been a massage to all our senses - more and more and more. as people progress media is in tow. or is it the other way around?

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1 comment:

Heresiarch said...

I rescued from cassette this talk that Marshall McLuhan gave at Johns Hopkins University in the mid 1970s. I have not found an audio file of this talk anywhere online. So far as I know it's an original contribution to the archive of McLuhan audio. Enjoy. Rare McLuhan Audio