There are many elements to McLuhan’s message, but I chose to focus on the ambiguity that sometimes arises, when we don’t quite understand the furthest ramifications of human development. They unfold over time, and develop as we learn to deal with them. Whitehead’s quote, which McLuhan uses to open his book, states that advances in civilization “all BUT wreck” their societies. Things change so drastically, that society must restructure itself in order to survive.
Villages to cities. Many changes in social structure, as universal currency replaces the bartering of goods. Heilbroner asserts that this is the initial cause for social inequality. In nomadic societies, people had no use for wealth. In the city, some people accumulate wealth and luxury, which leads everyone else to desire these benefits as well. Greed is born.
The advent of letters, transformed wall paintings and shamans with writers and libraries.
McLuhan astutely observes that with the rise of television culture, books are no longer at the forefront of communication. They still reserve a place in one’s home, but the old rate of information exchange is over-shadowed by the spontaneity and expediency of electronic broadcasting: radio and TV.
On a micro level, before the printing press, books, had a completely different role in society altogether. Their incredible artistry and limited supply, were replaced by the high demand that arose from the relatively inexpensive books after the invention of Gutenberg’s Press. This freed books from their previous role of collectors’ items, transforming them to communication and current discourse of everyday people. Martin Luther’s non-Latin Bible for instance, or even his 95 Theses which became widespread literature, sparking the reformation.
In music this changed audience expectations. With a wealth of recordings at our fingertips, the older spontaneous styles of performance were over shadowed by precision and perfection.As an example, The King’s Speech articulately showed how the advent of radio broadcasting changed the relationship of rulers to their subjects. No longer voiceless faces.
The Internet- speaks to the second quote. The Interfacing of the World.
The Internet has “flattened” our world into a global village. Of course we rely on the countless resources on the web. But more than this, the internet is a place to learn. Education does not HAVE to be formal, and sharing knowledge does not just happen in a classroom. The Internet is an open forum.
Instant communication and our global village are a double edged blade. These advancements drastically changed what we expect, and more basically, how we think. In musical fields, the talent pool has exponentially grown. Symphonies have the world of musicians at their disposal. This contrasts the slower rate of information exchange of years past, which separated peoples and cultures by geographic location. Symphonies are greater than they ever were, but the faster information travels the more uniform the world is.
Mc luhan presentation
The Ups andDowns of achanging world Marshall McLuhan Project
Central Quoteso “The major advances in civilization are processes that all but wreck the societies in which they occur.” -A.N. Whiteheado “Our time is a time for crossing barriers, for erasing old categories… it is a collide-oscope of interfaced situations.” -McLuhan pg. 10