Agency / Life
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Agency / Life

55 Years Later, the Medium is Still the Massage

I first had The Medium is the Massage in my hands senior year of college. I don’t remember the course. I don’t remember the lesson. I just remember how such creative words still felt so insightful. As I recently cracked open the pages again, with the smell of old glue wafting and edges yellowing, I still love this little 160-page book. As an ode to the Medium is the Massage — here are pulled quotes that still resonate loudly for today’s world, even since first published in 1967. And yes, presented in a way as inspired by the original.

The medium, or process of our time — electric technology — is reshaping and restructuring patterns of social interdependence and every aspect of our personal life. It is forcing us to reconsider and reevaluate practically every thought, every action, and every institution formerly taken for granted. Pg 8

The family circle has widened. The worldpool of information fathered by electric media — movies, Telstar, flight — far surpasses any influence mom and dad can now bring to bear. Character is no longer shaped by two earnest, fumbling experts. Now all the world’s a sage. Pg 14

Nothing can be further from the spirit of the new technology than “a place for everything and everything in its place.”

You

can’t

go

home

again.

Pg 16

Our new environment compels commitment and participation. We have become irrevocably involved with, and responsible for, each other. Pg 24

Media, by altering the environment, evoke in us unique ratios of sense perceptions. The extension of any one sense alters the way we think and act — the way we perceive the world. When these ratios change, men change. Pg 41

Electric circuitry profoundly involves men with one another. Information pours upon us, instantaneously and continuously. As soon as information is acquired, it is very rapidly replaced by still newer information. Pg 63

The new electronic interdependence recreates the world in the image of a global village. Pg 67

We can’t shut out sound automatically. We are simply not equipped with earlids. Where a visual space is an organized continuum of a uniformed connected kind, the ear world is a world of simultaneous relationships. Pg 111

Young people are looking for a formula for putting on the universe — participation mystique. They do not look for detached patterns — for ways of relating themselves to the world, a la nineteenth century. Pg 114

Want more? If interested in your own copy, be sure to grab the earlier black and white edition from a place like Thriftbooks. And an entire website is dedicated to McLuhan’s exploration of this book.

This book was the beginning of my own ad career. You can learn more about Experiences For Mankind on our website or contact us with an email. We’re always looking for brilliant clients and partnerships.

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Morgan Graham

Morgan Graham

Thick in a career of advertising, learner of a purposeful life. Inquisitive to great leadership, process, and customer experience || mgraham [at] efmagency.com