Monday, March 18, 2019

Bob Dobbs | Marshall McLuhan | ESP

Brent Baskin (quoting me [Bob Dobbs] 15 or more years ago) 9:25am, 29 Nov 2018:

“…but I have the tape of that interview …McLuhan says…’you know I have ESP’, and she goes ‘what?’. Now here’s a print, academic, university guy, you couldn’t talk about having ESP in the 60’s and 70’s and this is 1974, he says ‘I have ESP’, that’s pretty neat. He says ‘I can feel it, when a friend of mine is in New Guinea…’ which would be Ted Carpenter…she was stunned by that, you can hear it in the interview, but she didn’t put in it in the print version.

Now you go back to an essay, in 1957 Explorations, called ‘Electronics as ESP’. Now this is the key point, how is electronics ESP? And then in later books he points out that ESP is a nineteenth-century knee-jerk concept… See, he knows that you have a certain literate version of ESP, and he needs to break that down, so he doesn’t mean ‘ESP’ as you normally think when he says ‘Electronics is ESP’, he really means tactility as ESP. So here we have electronics, an extension of ESP, which is the most Paleolithic intimate environment. When humans first interacted, they didn’t call it ESP but they had a very sensitive response…they had a very intimate response with their sensory environment. In retrospect we romanticize the shaman awareness, and we call it right-hemisphere and all this, but it’s natural. But as McLuhan said each new invention they made would push their awareness out into an environment, so the tools they made would limit, change the ratios in their initial sensitivity. So if electronics has brought us back to a Paleolithic sensitivity, then for me to say that we are resonating in one node, and only one person, one thing can represent it, and therefore there’s no relationship, there’s no connection with anything, then you understand why Carpenter and McLuhan’s book ‘They Became What They Behold’. Starts off with the phrase ‘only connect’…What are you going to connect with? If we’re all one thing, then…as McLuhan was once asked, ‘will there ever be silence?’ and he said, ‘objects are unobservable , only relationships among objects are observable.’ So that was his answer…silence is one object, one thing, they’re unobservable

We are in a situation now where we cannot observe our situation. So McLuhan would take old media like a book, and he would offer this as a mirror, but the content of the book would be writing about all the other media, making you aware of the dynamics, so that this one book like Persues’ mirror, is held up ‘cause you can’t look at the Gorgan monster, which is just oneness and has no relationship to anything. You can’t get detached from it, so you look at a rear-view mirror media.

So we have tremendous baroque spirals and effluence of media, a great renaissance of all former media! Movies, TV’s, writing, books, song, poetry. Bulldozers, wars, destruction, architecture, the renaissance of the twentieth century was the greatest century of making things, all of it having the room to run around because peopled needed any medium to be a mirror, to get a perspective on the resonance. But in the end, none of these media have any staying power, none of them! Every one of those media are in a state of panic all the time. So in the end, no medium, rear view mirror media, have any content. And that’s why McLuhan would come back to Finnegan’s Wake, a book that in the end has no content! No meaning, no sign that you can say ‘this is what it’s about’, but that was a perfect way to mirror the tactile environment which has no content.

To have content you gotta have a relationship, you can’t observe tactility when it’s extended into a digital node. So, the term I came up with was ‘Android Meme’ to describe this, because language or any sharing between humans with any medium from ESP language and words up to now, creates a collective habit, which Richard Dawkins calls a meme, but it is a simulated meme now, it’s an android meme, and it’s resonating and it has nothing to connect with. So the image of the Android Meme is always the White House, the President…So why does George Bush apparently not finish his sentences? Why does he seem to be dumb? Why doesn’t he seem to care what his media imagine is? Because he’s totally appropriate for now. We have now arrived at the point where we’re not swamped by a torrent of images and media, because the media is shrinking holeopathically, being miniaturized!

These kids today feel superior to the media and information environments, it’s instinctive in them. Even in their hip-hop culture, they just sample, they take fragments from different things, just put it into a collage! They’re not looking- they’re doing Finnegans Wake! It’s final gotten down to ghetto culture. But that was because the media moulded people all through the 20th century and made their environments tiny. So the population is not interested in communication as a sense of matching, or establishing a point, they just swim through all media, all different forms of communication. So the sensibility, the Jerry Springer sensibility, is to get on the major centralized media and spit in it’s face, be an idiot in front of it, and another thing was talk radio, just rant about Bill Clinton or whatever the icons are…so this anarchy toward any communication in the old meaning of communication as a kind of control-matching situation has been satirized by the population, and they did that all through the 90’s, so by 2000 you’re going to have a president who looks like a thug and a cannibal who doesn’t even care about the media, he doesn’t even want to finish his sentence! And he still can be popular! He is expressing a sensibility, and we can actually now confront the point: yeah, why should George Bush say anything, ‘cause there’s nobody there! It’s only him! It’s only George Bush".

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