When people become too intense, too serious, they will have trouble in relating to any sort of social game or norm. Perhaps this is why jokes are so important. On one hand they tell us about where the problems and grievances are, and, at the same time, they provide the means of enduring these grievances by laughing at the problems.
People hope that if they scream loudly enough about "values" then others will mistake them for serious, sensitive souls who have higher and nobler perceptions than ordinary people. Otherwise, why would they be screaming? Moral bitterness is a basic technique for endowing the idiot with dignity.
The tribalizing power of the new electronic media, the way in which they return to us to the unified fields of the old oral cultures, to tribal cohesion and pre-individualist patterns of thought, is little understood. Tribalism is the sense of the deep bond of family, the closed society as the norm of community.
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The constant broadcast and reception of ghostly images via radio and television, according to this notion, had weakened the sense, particularly among youth, of possessing physical the sense, particularly among youth, of possessing physical bodies and private identities. McLuhan CD-ROM
By the way, goals and objectives are meaningless at the speed of light. At the speed of light, you aren't going somewhere, you're already there. On the telephone you're not going somewhere, you're there. And in the electronic world, going somewhere, you're there. And in the electronic world, there are no goals or objectives, we're already there. McLuhan CD-ROM
It is not brains or intelligence that is needed to cope with the problems with Plato and Aristotle and all of their successors to the present have failed to confront. What is needed is a readiness to undervalue the world altogether. This is only possible for a Christian... All technologies and all cultures, ancient and modern, are part of our immediate expanse. There is hope in this diversity since it creates vast new possibilities of detachment and amusement at human gullibility and self-deception. There is no harm in reminding ourselves from time to time that the "Prince of this World" is a great P.R. man, a great salesman of new hardware and software, a great electric engineer, and a great master of the media. It is his master stroke to be not only environmental but invisible for the environmental is invincibly persuasive when ignored.
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The poet, the artist, the sleuth - whoever sharpens our perception tends to be antisocial; rarely "well-adjusted", he cannot go along with currents and trends. A strange bond often exists between antisocial types in their power to see environments as they really are. This need to interface, to confront environments with a certain antisocial power is manifest in the famous story "The Emperor's New Clothes".
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It is just when people are all engaged in snooping on themselves and one another that they become anesthetized to the whole process. Tranquilizers and anesthetics, private and corporate, become the largest business in the world just as the world is attempting to maximize every form of alert. Sound-light shows, as new cliche, are in effect mergers, retrievers of the tribal condition. It is a state that has already overtaken private enterprise, as individual businesses form into massive conglomerates. As information itself becomes the largest business in the world, data banks know more about individual people than the people do themselves. The more the data banks record about each one of us, the less we exist.
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You and I are faced with one of those situations (which fortunately are not very numerous in one lifetime) which cannot possibly be adequately judged beforehand. It strikes me as a colossal gamble, or rather, a very great adventure. And personally I am considerably exhilarated by the risks!... The greatness of the adventure perhaps consists partly in the fact that as a Catholic I can marry only once! But, as with being born, perhaps once is quite sufficient! In the Church, you know, there is a great heightening of every moment of experience, since every moment is played against a supernatural backdrop. Nothing can be humdrum in this scheme.
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With the arrival of electric technology, man has extended, or set outside himself, a live model of the central nervous system itself. To the degree that this is so, it is a development that suggests a desperate suicidal autoamputation, as if the central nervous system could no longer depend on the physical organs to be protective buffers against the slings and arrows of outrageous mechanism.
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I am resolutely opposed to all innovation, all change, but I am determined to understand what's happening. Because I don't choose just to sit and let the juggernaut roll over me. Many people seem to think that if you talk about something recent, you're in favor of it. The exact opposite is true in my case. Anything I talk about is almost certainly something I'm resolutely against. And it seems to me the best way to oppose it is to understand it. And then you know where to turn off the buttons.
Rationality or consciousness is itself a ratio or proportion among the sensuous components of experience, and is not something added to such sense experience. Subrational beings have no means of achieving such a ratio or proportion in their sense lives but are wired for fixed wave lengths, as it were, having infallibility in their own area of experience. Consciousness, complex and subtle, can be impaired or ended by a mere stepping-up or dimming-down of any one sense intensity, which is the procedure in hypnosis. And the intensification of one sense by a new medium can hypnotize an entire community.
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The ear favours no particular 'point of view.' We are enveloped by sound. It forms a seamless web around us. We say, 'Music shall fill the air.' We never say, 'Music shall fill a particular segment of the air.'We hear sounds from everywhere, without ever having to focus. Sounds come from 'above, ' from 'below, ' from in 'front' of us, from 'behind' us, from our 'right, ' from our 'left.' We can't shut out sound automatically. We simply are not equipped with earlids. Where a visual space is an organised continuum of a uniformed connected kind, the ear world is a world of simultaneous relationships.
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[Cameras] tend to turn people into things and the photograph extends and multiplies the human image to the proportions of mass-produced merchandise and, [in the age of photography] the world itself becomes a sort of museum of objects that have been encountered before in some other museum and to say that the camera cannot lie is merely to underline the multiple deceits that are now practiced in its name.
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You see, Dad, Professor McLuhan says that the environment that man creates becomes his medium for defining his role in it. The invention of type created linear, or sequential thought, separating thought from action. Now, with TV and folk singing, thought and action are closer and social involvement is greater. We again live in a village. Get it?
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Once we have surrendered our senses and nervous systems to the private manipulation of those who would try to benefit from taking a lease on our eyes and ears and nerves, we don't really have any rights left. Leasing our eyes and ears and nerves to commercial interests is like handing over the common speech to a private corporation, or like giving the earth's atmosphere to a company as a monopoly.
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Persons grouped around a fire or candle for warmth or light are less able to pursue independent thoughts, or even tasks, than people supplied with electric light. In the same way, the social and educational patterns latent in automation are those of self-employment and artistic autonomy.
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During the Second War, the U.S.O. sent special issues of the principal American magazines to the Armed Forces, with the ads omitted. The men insisted on having the ads back again. Naturally. The ads are by far the best part of any magazine or newspaper. More pains and thought, more wit and art go into the making of an ad than into any prose feature of press or magazine. Ads are news. What is wrong with them is that they are always good news.
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An expensive ad represents the toil, attention, testing, wit, art, and skill of many people. Far more thought and care go into the composition of any prominent ad in a newspaper or magazine than go into the writing of their features and editorials. Any expensive ad is as carefully built on the tested foundations of public stereotypes or 'sets' of established attitudes, as any skyscraper is built on bedrock.
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Such is the content of the mental life of the Hemingway hero and the good guy in general. Every day he gets beaten into a servile pulp by his own mechanical reflexes, which are constantly busy registering and reacting to the violent stimuli which his big, noisy, kinesthetic environment has provided for his unreflective reception.
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