Archives for posts with tag: media

“The major advances in civilization are processes that all but wreck the societies in which they occur. ” – A.N. Whitehead

All media work us over completely. They are so pervasive in their personal, political, economic, aesthetic, psychological, moral, ethical and social consequences that they leave no part of us untouched, unaffected, unaltered. The medium is the massage. Any understanding of social and cultural change is impossible without a knowledge of the way media work as environments.

All
media
are
extensions
of
some
human
faculty–
psychic
or
physical.

electric circuitry,

an extension of
the
central
nervous
system

Media, by altering the environment, evoke in us the unique ratios of sense perceptions. The extension of any one sense alters the way we think and act–the way we perceive the world.

When
these
ratios
change,
men change.

The medium, or process, of our time–electric technology–is reshaping and restructuring patterns of social interdependence and every aspect of our personal life. It is forcing us to reconsider and reevaluate practically every thought every action, and every institution formerly taken for granted.

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, for instance, is a technology that is absorbed by the very young child in a completely unconscious manner, by osmosis so to speak. Words and the meaning of words predispose the child to think and act automatically in certain ways.

The alphabet and print technology fostered and encouraged a fragmenting process, a process of specialism and of detachment. Electric technology fosters and encourages unification and involvement. It is impossible to understand social and cultural changes without a knowledge of the workings of media.

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.

“In the study of ideas, it is necessary to remember that insistence on hard-headed clarity issues from sentimental feeling, as it were a mist, cloaking at all perplexities of fact. Insistence on clarity at all costs is based on sheer superstition as to the mode in which human intelligence functions. Our reasonings grasp at straws for premises and float on gossamers for deductions.” – A.N. Whitehead, “Adventure in Ideas”