Friday, July 8, 2016

Marshall McLuhan | Global Village & the Tetrad, John Hopkins University, 1977

“This kind of homeostasis or equilibrium among the senses and among the technologies has led some people to entertain the idea of an ecology of media, a way of arranging the media so that they orchestrate instead of clashing with each other. Another peculiarity of moving at the speed of electricity or light…”
Marshall McLuhan

What we have here is the annunciation of a new environment with one of its accompanying effects:

The satellite environment and the Global Theater of the 1960s turned “Nature” into a programmable art form. McLuhan ran with that percept for 10 to 15 years.

However, - and this has never been stated before - by the mid-1970s, McLuhan was indicating here at Johns Hopkins that the mixed-corporate media of the instant replay environment and the Global Membrane (see "Notes on Burroughs", 1964, for that phrase) was turning the analog media environments (the old Global Theater) into a programmable art form ("has led some people to entertain the idea of an ecology of media…”).

Just as McLuhan mocks Burroughs’ crude form of media ecology in 1964, here McLuhan is indicating that the Neil Postman/Eric McLuhan kind of media ecology is a knee-jerk reaction to a very unique situation that requires a type of response and anti-environment - a "paramedia ecology” - that no McLuhan scholar has noticed or articulated.
Bob Dobbs

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