Preview
Preview

Marshall McLuhan's Understanding Media Essay

No Works Cited
Length: 3750 words (10.7 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Blue      
Open Document




- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Marshall McLuhan's Understanding Media


In his groundbreaking work, Understanding Media, Marshall McLuhan posits that technologies in the “electric age” rendered it impossible for the individual to remain “aloof” anymore . Over the course of the late 19th to early 20th centuries, while an increasing presence of electric machines in daily life irrefutably signaled our nation’s arrival into the electric age, society’s “central nervous system [was] technologically extended to involve [each individual] in the whole of mankind,” McLuhan states (20). Previously disconnected, isolated individuals and groups suddenly became compressed, involved in each others’ lives, and unified into a network. As opposed to the preceding mechanical age, this was an age that sought “wholeness”-- an aspiration that McLuhan refers to as a “natural adjunct of electric technology” (21). McLuhan believes that great progress was made in the electric age; that wholeness was sought and worked towards eagerly.

However, at the turn of the century, three individuals—the philosopher, historian, and writer Henry Adams, the author Henry James, and the escape artist Harry Houdini—seemed to believe society was falling short of the goals that McLuhan claims it held. To these artists, the dreams of making everything seem attainable and everyone reachable were unrealistic; complete global unification, involvement, and wholeness served as a foil for disintegrating interpersonal relations. These American artists saw technology not so much as a device that brings individuals together, but rather as a means of escaping each other, individual social lives, as well as the constraints of the natural world.

The Autobiography of Henry Adams, first printed privately in 19...


... middle of paper ...


... not yield wholeness, grant individual freedom, and give Americans the infinite mobility they dream of. On the contrary, technology may cause separation, destruction, and confinement.

The question of whether future technologies will unite individuals peacefully or destroy civilizations ruthlessly is just as relevant, if not in fact more pressing today, at the turn of the 21st century, with a global presence of weapons of mass destruction haunting America, than it was at the turn of the 20th century. Based on his law of acceleration and increased danger, Adams might be surprised that America withstood two world wars and even entered the 21st century. But since we have, there is reason to hope that individuals and fellow nations may continue to defy Adams’ fears; that we may continue to “jump” headfirst into the future, and in doing so, eventually make progress.


Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »







This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
‘The Medium is the Message’ by Marshall McLuhan Essay - Marshall McLuhan: Unbound, The Medium is the Message, by Marshall McLuhan, Suite J Corte Madera, Gingko Press, 2005, Edited by Eric McLuhan and W. Terrence Gordon,23 pp., £47.00, ISBN 1-58423-051-7 Marshall McLuhan, one of the most important and influential scholars of the Toronto School astonished the whole world in the 1960s with his media theories- ‘The medium is the message’ and ‘The medium is the extensions of man’. These two notions were firstly arisen in the book ‘Understanding Media’ (McLuhan, 2001)....   [tags: Book Review, Literary Analysis]
:: 6 Works Cited
970 words
(2.8 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay on Marshall McLuhan and The Gutenberg Galaxy - The proponents of technology have always believed that technology is a product of independent creation and thus follows its own pace. They say that technology is forceful and society does not have a choice but to adapt to the changes that it imposes on the people. The members of any particular society may not be actually happy with the change but eventually they learn to accept it, as a result of which the process of change comes a full circle. This idea however is debatable because many critics point out that technology is in fact a planned phenomenon....   [tags: technology, printing, culture]
:: 3 Works Cited
1843 words
(5.3 pages)
Term Papers [preview]
Narcissus's Facebook Profile Essay - ... This stress “is bearable by the nervous system only through numbness or blocking of perception” – the Narcissus trance whereby we behold the extension but not its message. In McLuhan’s reading of the myth, “the image produces a generalized numbness or shock that declines recognition. Self-amputation forbids self-recognition” (McLuhan 43). This lack of self-recognition must in-turn prohibit an objective appraisal of what has been amputated. And it is the long-term effect of these amputations that is the true message of the medium – “the power of imposing its own assumption on the unwary” (McLuhan 15)....   [tags: Marshall McLluhan's In Understanding Media]
:: 1 Works Cited
1190 words
(3.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Internet and A Global Media Market Essay - To what extent has the internet created a global media market. Use relevant examples to illustrate your points. Media business has gone global under the capital globalization. Most of large media institutions in different countries have moved their steps into the global media market. The emergence of internet accelerates the creation of a global media market. In this essay, the expansion of the internet use in contemporary society and the digitalization of traditional mass media will be briefly introduced in the first and second sections....   [tags: Electronic Media ]
:: 13 Works Cited
1827 words
(5.2 pages)
Term Papers [preview]
Factors In Understanding the Media and Its Messages Essay - In a culture enthralled by the use of technology, it is important to note the ever-changing landscape of the media. Due to the pervasiveness of the media in today’s culture, it is vital to understand how media messages influences individuals. Media literacy is defined as the process of interacting with media content and critically analyzing it by considering its particular presentation, its underlying political or social messages, and the ownership and regulation issues that may affect what is presented and in what form (Pavlik 37)....   [tags: culture, technology, media]
:: 1 Works Cited
1212 words
(3.5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on The Transformations in My Design Process - In 1964 Marshall McLuhan identified a new phenomenon in Modern society. That year, McLuhan published Understanding Media, a book of essays that focus on the pervasive effects of new media on our lives. McLuhan predicted that the microchip would change how we conduct business, communicate, entertain ourselves, and how we learn. He condensed the world-shaking prophecies into the dictum ‘The Medium is the Message.’ We are just now beginning to understand the implications of his words. This phrase referred to the fact that media (as extensions of the human mind and body) are inextricable but independent from their content (human thought)....   [tags: Media] 1426 words
(4.1 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay on Media Technologies - INTRODUCTION: Audiences from different parts of the world were able to experience the atrocious event of the 9/11 attacks in New York as it happened live, from their homes. The media can create an experience of being in two places at once at the same time and allows us to experience the incidents occurring in a place separate from the environment in which we are present. Events, which are mediated, also influence our perceptions of the event by structuring our experience of the time and space in relation with the actual event....   [tags: Space, Time, Everyday Life] 1770 words
(5.1 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay about "The Medium is the Message" - “The medium is the message,” uttered by the late media scholar and theorist Marshall McLuhan, and they have been revered and dissected ever since they were spoken. There has been several different interpretations on the premise of McLuhan’s words, and the meaning behind them. The best way to start unraveling his theory, is to get a general understanding of the terms used in his famous quote. In McLuhan’s own words, a medium is simply “an extension of ourselves.” Simply put the medium personifies or enhances what we as humans cannot do on our own....   [tags: Media]
:: 6 Works Cited
1919 words
(5.5 pages)
Term Papers [preview]
Essay on Marshall McLuhan's Global Village - Marshall McLuhan’s “global village” may have seemed like a distant idea in the 1960’s, but just over 50 years later we find ourselves in the midst of it. According to Baran and Davis (2012), the global village referrers to, “the new form of social organization that would inevitably emerge as instantaneous electronic media tied the entire world into one great social, political, and cultural system” (p.231). Since 1995, according to Internet World Stats (2014), the Internet has had a rapid growth from 16 million users to an average of 2,749 million as of March 2013 (http://www.internetworldstats.com/emarketing.htm)....   [tags: Analysis, Social Organization, Electronic Media]
:: 10 Works Cited
1555 words
(4.4 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
McLuhan Essay - McLuhan Author and social theorist Tom Wolfe once commented on Canadian professor Marshal McLuhan’s mantra, “the medium is the message” saying: The new technologies…radically alter the entire way people use their five senses, the way they react to things, and therefore, their entire lives and the entire society. It doesn’t matter what the content of a medium like t.v. is… 20 hours a day of sadistic cowboys caving in peoples teeth or… Pablo Casals droning away on his cello. How is it that violence and the arts are effective in the same manner....   [tags: Art] 1487 words
(4.2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]