Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Medium is the Message

Marshall McLuhan is a Canadian philosopher who confounded the theory of communication. His work is believed to have formed the foundation for studying media theory and making it applicable in the television and advertisement industries. In a nutshell, McLuhan is well known for several things: making a perfect prediction of the World Wide Web and for positing the terms “global village” and “the medium of the message”. Below is my personal opinion of how McLuhan uses “the book” as a medium for uttering his message. Also, I will critically assess whether McLuhan’s idea of the modern society still has relevance (McLuhan, 2008).

According to McLuhan, “the book”, as a medium, gives man the potential to detach feelings from thoughts. He also says that it is “the book” that results in the fragmentation of knowledge. He supports his argument by illustrating how the “the book” allowed Western societies to specialize as well as to mechanize (McLuhan, 2008). I agree with McLuhan’s position because “the book” was among the first medium to be created by man. People printed their ideas, which enabled transfer of knowledge from individual to another and from generation to the next (McLuhan, 2008).

McLuhan has used his book “The Medium is the Massage” to utter his thought to his audiences in very exceptional way. His style is demonstrative and explorative, probing and analytic in nature. The book is also humorous and insightful, which makes his audiences understand his thoughts and message in a precise way.

On the question of modern society, McLuhan saw a society in which print medium will dominate as

the most suitable. He did not at all support social change or innovation. According to him, the modern society would neglect print medium and embrace electronic mediums such as computers. Personally, I think that though McLuhan was opposed to the realistic modern world’s situation – change and innovation, his ideal world is not in existence. However, the world he was against is very much alive, thus his ideas of the modern society is still very relevant.

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