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Marshall Mcluhan

By Edited Oct 27, 2013 0 1

Marshall Mcluhan
Who is Marshall Mcluhan

Marshall Mcluhan was an analyst of human interaction and communication and how technology affects these concepts. Mcluhan presented his ideas of human progression as if they were inevitable, that the progression of technology controls how society, and the individual, evolve. Mcluhan believed that technology would turn us into villagers, essentially drones, of an increasingly controlling and fear mongering global village. The connectivity to each other that technology brings also brings an awareness of the thoughts, actions, and feelings of others, "so, unless aware of this dynamic, we shall at once move into a phase of panic terrors, exactly befitting a small world of tribal drums, total interdependence, and superimposed co-existence" (Wikipedia). Mcluhan uses, as a base for this argument, the progression of society and the individual after the invention of the printing press, how literacy, and consequently understanding, propagated across the globe, further advancing critical and personal thought. According to Mcluhan, the "electronics revolution" will have the opposite effect, bringing about collective thought and critical thinking, that the population will move en mass, shunting individual thought for that of the group. These are the ideas of technological determinism, that society in under the control of the technology, that it controls our direction and commands our history.

While Mcluhan's ideas are intriguing and possess a certain plausibility, his argument is flawed in analysis of the human mind. Because of the freedom of thought and expression that we humans, especially those of us in western culture, have come to enjoy, this progression to the group think is unlikely. The progression of technology, of the electronic media or medium, has allowed our minds to expand and understand concepts which would be almost impossible before. The telephone, the radio, the television, the internet, have all given us access to the ideas of others, ideas that we can ponder and evaluate and use to support or challenge our own ideas. The Global Village that Mcluhan talks about, has brought us some "interdependence" and even some "panic terrors" (Wikipedia) but this is only because we are now aware of the events taking place in our new village, we are in fact still part of the Enlightenment that began with the printing press, not sliding down towards the darkness of ignorance.



Dec 13, 2009 5:56pm
Anyone interested in learning more about McLuhan's thinking would do well by reading his book "Understanding Media". I found it quite interesting!
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