Marshall McLuhan and Me: BACK IN ‘62

Marshall McLuhan’s The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man was published in March 1962. It is a pioneering study in the fields of oral and print culture, cultural studies and media ecology. I was just finishing grade 12 in the then small town of Burlington Ontario and about to play my last season of baseball for the Burlington juvenile all-stars. I was also about to begin my travelling-pioneering life for the Canadian Baha’i community.

Throughout the book, a book which I did not read until sometime during my university years, 1963 to 1967, McLuhan takes pains to analyse how the various forms of communication technology like: writing, the printing press and the electronic media—affect man’s cognitive organization. This process, in turn, has profound ramifications for social organization. As he wrote:

“if a new technology extends one or more of our senses outside us into the social world, then new ratios among all of our senses will occur in that particular culture. It is comparable to what happens when a new note is added to a melody. And when the sense ratios alter in any culture then what had appeared lucid before may suddenly become opaque, and what had been vague or opaque will become translucent.”1-Ron Price with thanks to 1The Gutenberg Galaxy 1962, p. 41.

You’ve been coming back into vogue
after that hiatus of some thirty years.1
and you became a Roman Catholic in
’37 right at the start of that first Seven
Year Plan.2 This religious belief seems
to be the basis for your conservatism at
least that was argued on ABC Radio last
last weekend.3 We all make analyses &
observations based on many assumptions.

Mine are not based on Catholicism but on
the Baha’i Faith…to each their own in life
as we all travel the journey in this complex
world with its billions of galaxies & trillions
of stars: perhaps what is the question is the
question behind all the other questions……

1From his death in 1980 to, say, 2010, McLuhan and his work existed in an intellectual backwater but it has recently seen a recrudescence.
2 McLuhan became a Catholic in March 1937 and the Baha’i Seven Year Plan(1937-1944) began in April/May.
3 Grant Havers, Chair of the Department of Philosophy at Trinity Western University in Canada and the author of an essay on the right-wing postmodernism of Marshall McLuhan. He was interviewed by Alan Saunders on The Philosopher’s Zone on 16/7/’11.

Ron Price
22 July 2011:thumbsup:

Hi Ron!

I found your post a little thought provoking because in a far off galaxy a long time ago I studied Communication Theory to some extent. I have never read McLuhan, but I have touched on some of his concepts. I take it you see the prevalence of mass communication as a unifying force amongst humanity and that through it we will all share a commonality of knowledge, of spirituality and social organisation. Correct me if I am wrong, but that seems to be what you are intimating. I personally think McLuhan came to some conclusions that wont stack up in the long run. I also think there will be a backlash against some of the supposed shared commonality brought about by the ‘mass’ of the mass media. In my humble opinion, the more common the shared experience becomes, the more shallow it becomes and people look for greater depth and hence there is the danger, perhaps propensity, for a re-fragmentizing of the so called “global village”. What do you think?

I don’t know much about this subject, but it seems to me that McLuhan didn’t necessarily see what he thought was coming as a good thing.

Belated apologies for taking some 9 months to respond. McLuhan(1911-1980) was a Canadian educator, philosopher, and scholar—a professor of English literature, a literary critic, a rhetorician, and a communication theorist–and influential while I was at university in the 1960s. McLuhan’s work is viewed as one of the cornerstones of the study of media theory, a subject I taught for several years. As well as having practical applications in the advertising and television industrie%between%%between%s, I simply found it interesting.

McLuhan is known for coining the expressions “the medium is the message” and “the global village” and predicted the World Wide Web almost thirty years before it was invented.%between% Although he was a fixture in media discourse in the late 1960s, his influence started to wane in the early seventies and by then I was teaching other subjects at a university in Australia. In the years after his death, he continued to be a controversial figure in academic circles.%between% With the arrival of the internet, however, there was renewed interest in his work and perspective.-Ron: go to Wikipedia for more details.:thumbsup:


I recall some of this stuff. I read what you posted. I do not see a question. I do not see a statement. There is just lots of stuff about you and McLuhan.

What is your take on this stuff and Alfred Korzybski?

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