"The Medium Is the Massage" Mcluhan

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“The
 medium
 is
 the
 message”
 McLuhan
 defines
 the
 medium
 as
 any
 extension
 of
  our
  body,
  senses
  or
  mind.
  Therefore,
  any
  instrument
  of
  change
  is
  a
  medium.
  The
  resulting
 change
 McLuhan
 refers
 to
 is
 often
 subtle
 and
 it
 is
 this
 change
 that
 is
 the
  message
  (McLuhan,
  1994).
  At
  first
  glance,
  McLuhan’s
  statement
  seems
  paradoxical.
 However,
 my
 conventional
 understanding
 of
 message
 as
 the
 content
  is
  not
  how
  McLuhan
  defines
  it.
  He
  defines
  the
  message
  as
  “the
  change
  of
  scale
  or
  pace
 or
 pattern
 that
 is
 introduced
 into
 human
 affairs”.
 To
 illustrate:
 the
 modern
  metropolis
 with
 its
 challenges
 of
 suburban
 life
 and
 the
 stress
 of
 long
 commutes
  is
 a
 result
 of
 cars
 -­‐
 a
 technological
 extension
 of
 our
 bodies
 designed
 to
 alleviate
  physical
 stress
 and
 to
 increase
 the
 speed
 of
 transportation
 (McLuhan,
 1994).
 In
  this
 example,
 the
 car
 is
 the
 medium
 and
 the
 emergence
 of
 the
 new
 metropolis
 is
  the
 message,
 an
 unintended
 consequence.
 It
 is
 these
 unanticipated
 consequences
  that
  McLuhan
  wants
  us
  to
  be
  aware
  of
  and
  warns
  us
  about;
  “control
  over
  change
  would
  seem
  to
  consist
  in
  moving
  not
  with
  it
  but
  ahead
  of
  it.
  Anticipation
  gives
  the
 power
 to
 deflect
 and
 control
 force.”
 (McLuhan,
 1994)
 
  “The
  medium
  is
  the
  metaphor.”
  Neil
  Postman
  corrects
  McLuhan’s
  statement.
  According
 to
 Postman,
 “A
 message
 denotes
 a
 specific,
 concrete
 statement
 about
  the
 world”
 Instead,
 he
 finds
 that
 the
 media
 are
 more
 like
 metaphors,
 “working
 by
  unobtrusive
  but
  powerful
  implication
  to
  enforce
  their
  special
  definitions
  of
  reality.”
  For
  example,
  the
  invention
  of
  the
  clock
  to
  inform
  us
  of
  the
  passing
  of
  moments
 changed
 us
 into
 “time-­‐keepers,
 time-­‐savers
 and
 now
 time-­‐servers.”
 In
  this
  process,
  our
  minds
  are
  now
  organized
  and
  controlled
  by
  the
  hands
  of
  the
  clock,
  a
  creation
  of
  man-­‐not
  God’s
  conception
  or
  nature’s.
  This
  change
  in
  our
  perceptions
  of
  reality
  is
  the
  metaphor.
  “Our
  metaphors
  create
  the
  content
  of
  our
  culture.”
 (Postman,
 1986)
 
  Postman
  compares
  the
  prophecies
  of
  George
  Orwell’s
  1984
  with
  the
  Aldus
  Huxley’s
  Brave
  New
  World.
  Orwell’s
  warning
  is
  of
  an
  “externally
  imposed
  oppression”
  while
  Huxley’s
  warning
  is
  of
  “people
  who
  will
  come
  to
  love
  their
  oppression,
  to
  adore
  their
  technologies
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