Marshall McLuhan, fully Herbert Marshall McLuhan

McLuhan, fully Herbert Marshall McLuhan

Canadian Philosopher of Communication Theory, Educator, Author and Media Expert

Author Quotes

The mosaic form of the TV image demands participation and involvement in depth, of the whole being, as does the sense of touch.

The past went that-a-way. When faced with a totally new situation, we tend always to attach ourselves to the objects, to the flavor of the most recent past. We look at the present through a rear view mirror. We march backwards into the future.

The real news is bad news.

The business of the advertiser is to see that we go about our business with some magic spell or tune or slogan throbbing quietly in the background of our minds.

The electric light is pure information. It is a medium without a message.

The hardware world tends to move into software form at the speed of light.

The mask, like the side-show freak, is mainly participatory rather than pictorial in its sensory appeal.

The most human thing about us is our technology.

The percept takes priority of the concept.

The reduction of the tactile qualities of life and language constitute the refinement sought in the Renaissance and repudiated now in the electronic age.

Literacy, in translating man out of the closed world of tribal depth and resonance, gave man an eye for an ear and ushered him into a visual open world of specialized and divided consciousness.

Media, by altering the environment, evoke in us unique ratios of sense perception... When these ratios change, men change.

Nobody can doubt that the entire range of applied science contributes to the very format of a newspaper. But the headline is a feature which began with the Napoleonic Wars. The headline is a primitive shout of rage, triumph, fear, or warning, and newspapers have thrived on wars ever since.

Only a fraction of the history of literacy has been typographic.

Politics will eventually be replaced by imagery. The politician will be only too happy to abdicate in favor of his image, because the image will be much more powerful than he could ever be.

Radio affects most intimately, person-to-person, offering a world of unspoken communication between writer-speaker and the listener. That is the immediate aspect of radio. A private experience. The subliminal depths of radio are charged with the resonating echoes of tribal horns and antique drums. This is inherent in the very nature of this medium, with its power to turn the psyche and society into a single echo chamber.

Societies have always been shaped more by the nature of the media by which men communicate than by the content of the communication.

The alphabet is an aggressive and militant absorber and transformer of culture, as Harold Innis was the first to show. The Homeric hero becomes a split-man as he assumes an individual ego.

Literacy, the visual technology, dissolved the tribal magic by means of its stress on fragmentation and specialization and created the individual.

Medieval and ancient sensibility now dominates our time as acoustic and multisensory awareness displaces the merely visual.

Nobody ever made a grammatical error in a non-literate society.

Only puny secrets need protection. Big secrets are protected by public incredulity. You can actually dissipate a situation by giving it maximal coverage. As to alarming people, that's done by rumors, not by coverage.

Pornography and by specialism and fragmentation. They deal with a figure without a ground -- situations in which the human factor is suppressed in favor of sensations and kicks.

Radio comes to us ostensibly with person to person directness that is private and intimate, while in more urgent fact, it is really a subliminal echo chamber of magic power to touch remote and forgotten chords.

Some days, I wish the whole fucking world would just 'phone in sick.

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McLuhan, fully Herbert Marshall McLuhan
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Canadian Philosopher of Communication Theory, Educator, Author and Media Expert