Prophetic McLuhan

July 4, 2011 | Richard

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Main Reference Department 2nd Floor McLuhan Display - (June - September 2011) - Photo by Elmslie

‘The new electronic interdependence recreates the world in the image of a global village’ (1962)

It is hard to believe that McLuhan wrote these words almost a half century ago when media technology was in its infancy. And when McLuhan wrote a few years later, “Our official culture is striving to force the new media to do the work of the old”, it was as if he had had a glimpse into our present day media saturated world where virtual presence is taking on a life of its own and everywhere people are hurrying to be connected.

This idea of involvement, not just the idea of connectivity in real-time, is something McLuhan predicted so very well: “Our new environment compels commitment and participation. . . . All media work us over completely.”  Who is not feeling a bit worked over: podcasts, rss, wikis, blogs, Facebook, Twitter; Youtube, Flikr, and so on? For many, these things are now a part of daily life.

Now really, doesn’t it seem that the “new electronic interdependence recreates the world in the image of a global village”, and that “we have begun again to structure the primordial feeling, the tribal emotions from which a few centuries of literacy divorced us”?

Come to the Appel Salon Monday July 18th to discover the role that Toronto played in Marshall McLuhan's understanding of media and how we were affected in return. Hosted by CBC Technology Columnist Jesse Hirsh, this event is the first part of a series of three Monday Night Seminars that celebrate Marshall McLuhan and his legacy. The series is part of a city-wide celebration of the centenary of McLuhan's birth. For more events, visit the Mcluhan100 website.