The Global Village. McLuhan. 1989

Chapter 1: The resonating interval

Important passages of the chapter:

  • Greek notions of efficient causality is reflected in all the linear, sequential and logical models of communication.
  • An artifact pushed far enough tends to incorporate the user. Technology emphasizes some one function of man’s senses; at the same time some senses are dimmed down or temporarily obsolesced. ME: In the case of the social media technology which senses are deemed down?
  • All cultural situations are composed of an area of attention (figure) and a very much larger area of inattention (ground)The two are in a continual state of abrasive interplay, with an outline of boundary or interval between them that serves to define both simultaneously.
  • The ground of every technology of any technology is boh the situation that gives rise to it as well as the whole environment (medium) of services and dissevices that the technology brings with it. These are the side effects, and they impose themselves haphazardly as a vew form of culture. The medium is the message. As an old ground is displaced by the content of the new situation, it becomes available to ordinary attention as figure.
  • Tetrads are a means of focusing awareness of hidden or unobserved qualities in our culture and its technologies, they act phenomenologically. From Hegel to Heidegger, phenomenologists have engaged in an attempt to get at the hidden properties, or concealed effects, of language and technology alike.

  • Human artifacts: Hardware–> objects  Software –> ideas
  • Just as all artifacts are words, all words and languages are artifact
  • Technologies as words are metaphors. They involve the transformation of the user insofar as they establish new relationships between him and his environments.
  • Every human artifact is a medium of communication whose message may be said to be the totality of the satisfactions and dissatisfactions it engenders which, at the speed of light, reveal simultaneous process patterns. Questions he makes once the arrived to the set of process patterns:
  1. What does any artifact enlarge or enhance?
  2. What does ir erode or obsolesce?
  3. What does it retrieve that had been earlier obsolesced?
  4. What does it reverse of flip into when pushed to the limits of its potential (chiasmus)
  • The Greek and the Romans invented the historical sense (the diachronic) so that it would be possible to carve up and deal with  time as a rational control device.
  • The tetrad not only reveals the configurational character of time, but also that the artifact (or founding idea) is always the product of the user’s mentality.  It shows the positive and the negative aspects of the artifact
  • Regarding the invention of the car,he says: When the figure (artifact –> car) is on the verge of swallowing the ground (Environment) it becomes grotesque.
    ME: The car (artifact) can become a monster that brings in consequences that the men does not how to deal with and in order to do so, sometimes he invents grounds that support the figure. OPEP was such an invention.
  • Tribalism as the ground of pre-literary humanity, was a prodigy of “rhyme without reason”, which before the Greek city-states allowed no private identity.
  • Civilization, the artifact of literate man.
  • Were  there is no inevitably however, where there is a willingness to pay attention.

Chapter 2: The wheel and the axle

In 1919, T.S. Eliot in his essay “Tradition and the Individual Talent” has stressed the view that all art from Homer to the present formed an simultaneous order and that this order is perpetually motivated, renewed, and retrieved by new experience

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