Introduction: The Medium is the Massage by Marshall McLuhan
I wrote a profile of Marshall McLuhan and learned that he prophesied the introduction of the Internet. I was intrigued and wanted to discover things for myself so I purchased his book, The Medium is the Massage. It’s an interesting book that has a lot of pictures and special effects, and although it’s a small book, it’s not one you can rush through if you truly want to experience it.
After I finished reading The Medium is the Massage, I pulled what I thought are lessons that make good food for thought. This is exactly the kind of book that will make someone seriously think about what she is reading.
This isn’t really a review of The Medium is the Massage, but some ideas that I pulled from it. What makes this book so significant is that it was first published in 1967.
- As soon as information is acquired, it is rapidly replaced by still newer information: According to a Digital Universe study, “The world’s information is doubling every two years. In 2011 the world will create a staggering 1.8 zettabytes. By 2020 the world will generate 50 times the amount of information and 75 times the number of “information containers” while IT staff to manage it will grow less than 1.5 times.”
- We have been forced to move from data classification to a mode of pattern recognition: Not everyone is equipped to recognize patterns, although it is an important skill, which would allow us to spot trends long before the populace. What process do you use to recognize patterns?
- We look at the present through the rear-view window. We march backwards into the future: The past is a way to help us to understand the present and the future, but we have to be open to discovering new things and ways of looking at things.
- Our “Age of Anxiety” is, in great part, the result of trying to do today’s job with yesterday’s tools – with yesterday’s concepts: We have to look into our toolbox to determine which tools and concepts are still useful, then move forward. If the tools and concepts no longer work, toss them out and take the time to replace them with better tools.
- When this circuit learns your job, what are you going to do? This is a valid question, because over the decades, many jobs have been lost because of technology, the process has been computerized. What are the steps you can take so that you are ready to move on before your job is lost to the computer? We are living in an age where we constantly have to retrain and retool.
- All media work us over completely. They are so pervasive in their personal, political, economic, psychological, moral ethical and social consequences that they leave no part of us untouched…: We live in a very wired and connected world, and we need to practice shutting things off, even if it’s only for an hour. There have to be times in our lives when we can turn completely off, or our senses will always be dulled.
- When information is brushed against information the results are startling and effective: Nothing exists in a vacuum, when you discover something new, combine it with what you already know.
Final Thoughts: The Medium is the Massage by Marshall McLuhan
I recommend The Medium is the Massage by Marshall McLuhan because it forces you to stop and think. Please add your thoughts in the comment box below. If you cannot see the comment box, click on the title of the post and it will appear. Book links are affiliate links.
The Medium is the MassageThe Mechanical Bride – FacsimileUnderstanding Media: The Extensions of ManThe Gutenberg GalaxyUnderstanding Media: The Extensions of Man : Critical EditionMarshall McLuhan: You Know Nothing of My Work!The Global Village: Transformations in World Life and Media in the 21st CenturyThe Essential McLuhanUnderstanding Media: (Routledge Classics)Marshall McLuhan: Escape into Understanding