McLuhan – Language extends and amplifies man but it also divides his faculties.


The presentation in the video is shows that a difference in kind between humans and chimps (and by presumption — at some point, at any rate — the ancestors of humans) is the trade-off between perception and higher order processing in the actual percentages of dedicated areas of the brain.

It struck me that Marshall McLuhan discussed this speculation a half-century ago. (See below.) Indeed, novelty (if not progress) in awareness entailing gain and loss was an axiom to his theory of media.

Might experimental explorations of McLuhan’s thought be something possible to pursue?

# # #

“…
… It is the extension of man in speech that enables the intellect to detach itself from the vastly wider reality. Without language,
Bergson suggests, human intelligence would have remained totally involved in the objects of its attention. Language does for intelligence what the wheel does for the the feet and the body. It
enables them to move from thing to thing with greater ease and speed and ever less involvement. Language extends and amplifies man but it also divides his faculties. His collective consciousness or intuitive awareness is diminished by this technical extension of consciousness
that is speech.
…”

Understanding Media, (The Spoken Word)
Marshall McLuhan, 1964

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