Sep 182014
 

It is clear that telegraph, by providing a wide sweep of instant information, could reveal meteorological patterns of force quite beyond observation by pre-electric man.

Understanding Media (Telegraph)
Marshall McLuhan, 1964

# # #

Pharisees and Sadducees Seek a Sign
(Mark 8:11-13; Luke 12:54-56)

1The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven. 2He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. 3And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? 4A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.

# # #

An old adage at IBM is: “Information overload equals pattern recognition.” At instant speed the hidden becomes plain to see.

“Information overload equals pattern recognition.” Media Ad-vice: An Introduction by Marshall McLuhan

Introduction to Subliminal Seduction By Wilson Bryan Key

# # #

You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

Bob Dylan

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Anthony Olszewski
aolsz@bellatlantic.net

Sep 102014
 


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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Anthony Olszewski
aolsz@bellatlantic.net

Sep 052014
 

For some reason or other just now, I noticed the symmetry between the first line of Eve of Destruction and Understanding Media. I wonder if this is a crafted riff, the germination of a received insight, or an independent observation? Might the anthem of apocalypse be a reflection on McLuhan?

# # #

Eve Of Destruction
By P. F. Sloan in 1965
(Recorded by Barry McGuire)

The eastern world, it is exploding
. . .

# # #

After three thousand years of explosion, by means of fragmentary and mechanical technologies, the Western world is imploding. . . .
. . .

Understanding Media
By Marshall McLuhan, 1964

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Anthony Olszewski
aolsz@bellatlantic.net

Jul 122014
 

In nature, nearly everything seen is light on, reflected light. The list of things that emit light — light through — is very short: the sun (and other stars), lightning, fire, bioluminescence and molten lava. Only fire and the stars can be stared at for any length of time. Before people learned to produce fire, it too would not necessarily be common. The flash of lightning is evanescent. Bioluminescence is faint and rare. For most, experience with molten lava would be unknown or unusual.

After the mastering of metal craft, glowing red hot objects might often be encountered. The transformation of metal from ore to tool or weapon was seen as a sacred rite.

Edison’s introduction of electric light was unsettling:
“…
When the first electric lights cast their golden glow over Menlo Park on New Year’s Eve 1880, a crowd of 3,000 people gathered in awe. Edison, the worker of miracles, had triumphed. Historian and author Carolyn Marvin says, “Victorians saw the electric light and the effect of electricity (or ‘the lightning’) as having an almost religious power. Edison was both godlike, because he could manipulate the lightning, and a very dark and satanic figure for the same reason. He could challenge God’s order.”
…”
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/edison/filmmore/description.html

For those whose only experience with illumination had been candle, kerosene or gas, Edison’s electric torchlight parade had men lit up like candles or lamps.

My speculation is that the mind evolved to process reflected light and that glowing and flickering
sources tend to open the doors of perception — as shown by the Dream Machine of Brion Gysin and William Burroughs. It follows then that reading on a screen is a sort of ricercar. The text is something secondary; the effect of the light source itself is the theme.

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Anthony Olszewski
aolsz@bellatlantic.net

Jul 032014
 

On Jun 5, 2014, at 8:28 AM, Anthony Olszewski wrote:

> I seem to recall that in one of the McLuhan on Maui audio archives,
> it’s mentioned that in a final taped interview with a York University
> student, McLuhan called Satan the prince of the airwaves.
>
> In Ephesians 2 Paul writes of “the ruler of the kingdom of the air,
> the spirit who is now at work in
> those who are disobedient.”
Fundamentalist Christians have pointed to
> this as proof that the devil works through television.
>
> I don’t know how Professor McLuhan intended his statement to be
> interpreted, but he appears to have been alluding to the New
> Testament.
>
> FWIW
>
> Anthony Olszewski

# # #

Bob Dobbs
Wednesday, Jul 2 02:48 PM
to Anthony Olszewski anthony.olszewski@gmail.com
Re: Satan the prince of the airwaves?

Yes, he did and was.

You can read his letter to Jacques Maritain in the 1969 section of THE LETTERS OF MARSHALL McLUHAN where he discusses the “Prince of the Air”.

Bob

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Anthony Olszewski
aolsz@bellatlantic.net

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