Medium & Message   Leave a comment

Marshall Mcluhan coined the phrase “The medium is the message”; a concept that revolves around the idea that the content of a communication product  is far less important than the medium under which it is produced. Mr. Mcluhan died in 1980s, so didn’t have the opportunity to see his philosophy writ large on the modern stage.

With the advent of instantaneous communication, we have become a generation of individuals who see all information as equally relevant and conversely irrelevant, often at the same time. Far too many of us lack the cognitive ability to discern the immaterial from the material. We have allowed the least talented amongst our populous to direct the course of our society and civilization through little more than the click of a button.

Listen carefully and you can hear Mcluhan laughing hysterically between bouts of grieving sobs.

What the hell is wrong with us?

When Mcluhan made his observation in the 1960s, television was replacing newspapers and magazines as the primary source of news and information for most of society. He was concerned to see that people were turning from indepth news coverage — available in print to one-minute segments of broadcast news. He recognized that the medium of broadcast was far more attractive than the message that it carried, no matter how stripped down and shallow that message had to be to meet the demands of the medium.  Mcluhan contended that print, by presenting information in ordered small bits, gave consumers the power to separate thought from feeling and led to the compartmentalization of knowledge that enabled Western man to specialize and mechanize. He saw promise in broadcast for engaging senses other than the visual, but worried that it would encourage emotional thinking while interfering with critical thinking.

I wonder if he would criticize how today’s massive cluster of impersonal notifications generated by social media sites has effectively desensitized us to the human condition. On any given day, my timeline is clogged dozens of personal causes and flag-bearers who have no active stance to take on a plethora of issues. Half the time, they clicked “Share” because they liked the picture and never gave any thought to the content. But if you try to point out any inconsistencies in whatever stance is portrayed, you quickly discover that this medium kills intelligent debate!  The moment an individual decides to set their words upon the infinite aether that is the online community, it becomes more fact than opinion. It’s as if we can no longer distinguish the two.

We live in a world of information bubbles and what we know about the world is largely self-selected, which is made possible by the power of the Internet. When we encounter someone we disagree with, we no longer assume that they lack knowledge that might change their opinion, but we now assert with great confidence that they are crazy, evil, stupid or in some other way defective. This allows us to adhere to our own opinions and not let any contravening facts get in the way of our certainty on any given subject.

Examples abound and some of these may be worth exploring in future posts.

What's Your Opinion?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

WordDreams...

Jacqui Murray's

Steven Smith

The website of an aspiring author

thebibliophagist

a voracious reader. | a book blogger.

cupidcupid999

adventure, art, nature, travel, photography, wildlife - animals, and funny stuff

Republic-MainStreet

The Peaceful Revolution Liberate Main Street

atleastihaveafrigginglass

What could possibly go wrong?

Who the Hell Knows?

The name says it all.

Rebellious Hazelnuts

Surreal Stories, Very Tall Tales

%d bloggers like this: