Some great quotes by Marshall McLuhan, a man ahead of his time, and maybe even ours…

Marshall McLuhan

“A point of view can be a dangerous luxury when substituted for insight and understanding.”

“The more the data banks record about each one of us, the less we exist.”

“Most of our assumptions have outlived their usefulness.”

“I wouldn’t have seen it if I hadn’t believed it.”

“Electric circuitry profoundly involves men with one another. Information pours upon us, instantaneously and continuously. As soon as information is acquired, it is very rapidly replaced by still newer information. Our electrically-configured world has forced us to move from the habit of data classification to the mode of pattern recognition. We can no longer build serially, block-by-block, step-by-step, because instant communication insures that all factors of the environment and of experience co-exist in a state of active interplay.”

More McLuhan gems from my buddy ChefDevo:

“Communication has emerged as a necessary object of attention in the 20th century, not because it’s new, but because it’s that portion of the social organism now undergoing elephantiasis.” – 1969

“There are no more remote places, under instant circuitry, nothing is remote in time or space…. It is now.” – 1965

“The new media are not bridges between man and nature, they are nature.” – 1969

“In the Age of Information, media …are in themselves new natural resources increasing the wealth of the community. In the Age of Information, the moving of information is by many times the largest business in the world. Even in the old sense of a business, moving information far outranks “heavy” industry. AT&T alone is far larger than General Motors.” – 1967

“People never want to look at the present; people live in the rearview mirror because it is safer, they’ve been there before, they feel comfort. The present is an area that people have always avoided throughout human history – the utopias of mankind are all rearview-mirror images of the preceding age….This habit of seeing back one stage when thinking that one is looking at the present is an age old human habit. And it may be that we are the first to discover a means of overcoming the limitations of this habit.” – 1965

“The personal and social consequences of any medium, that is, of any extension of ourselves – result from the new scale that is introduced into our affaires by each extension of ourselves, or new technology.” “All media are extensions of some human faculty – psychic or physical. The wheel is an extension of the foot. The book is an extension of the eye. Clothing is an extension of skin.” “With the arrival of electronic technology, man extended, or set outside himself, a live model of the central nervous system.” – 1964

“Electronic man like pre-literate man, ablates or outers the whole man. His information environment is his own central nervous system.” – 1969

“Time has ceased, space has vanished. We now live in a global village…. A simultaneous happening.” “After three thousand years of specialist explosion and of increasing specialism and alienation in the technological extension of ourselves, our world has become compressional by dramatic reversal. As electronically contracted, the globe is no more than a village.” – 1969

“Transmitted at the speed of light, all events on this planet are simultaneous. In the electronic environment of information, all events are simultaneous. There is no time or space separating events. Information and images bump against each other every day in massive quantities, and the resonance of this interfacing is like the babble of a village or tavern gossip session. The absence of space brings to mind the idea of the village. But actually, at the speed of light, the planet is not much bigger than the room we’re in. In terms of time and the speed of the events that are programmed, they his each other so fast that even a village is too big a thing to use for comparison. The acoustic or simultaneous space in which we now live is like a sphere whose center is everywhere and whose margins are nowhere.” -from interview – 1974

“The global village is at once as wide as a planet and as small as the little town where everybody is maliciously poking his nose into everyone else’s business. The global village is world where you don’t necessarily have harmony; you have extreme concern with everyone else’s business and much involvement in everybody else’s life. It’s a sort of Ann Landers column written larger. And so, the global village is a big as a planet and as small as the village post office.” – 1966

“If we understand the revolutionary transformations caused by new media, we can anticipate and control them; but if we continue in our self-induced subliminal trance, we will be their slaves.” – 1974

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