Medium is the Manipulation


In “Medium is the Massage” McLuhan reasons that digital (or what he calls electric) technology is reshaping our lives. It is his belief that technology’s manipulation is a thorough and consistent force which will not only impact our personal lives but the ever more interdependent societies in which we live.


“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 re-evaluate practically every thought, every action, and every institution formerly taken for granted.” (p. 8)
“Societies have always been shaped more by the nature of the media by which men communicate than by the content of the communication.” (p.10)
“Electric circuitry profoundly involves men with one another.” (p. 63).


McLuhan partnered with designer Quentin Fiore to produce “Medium is the Massage”, a clashing piece of media that swingings from prophetic analysis of the ways technology continues to reshape our relationships to graphic examples, presumably, when considering the author, filled with subliminal messaging.

While the mechanism for delivering his message was provocative for its time, it is his ideas that continue to merit reanalysis. McLuhan begins by postulating that electric technology is and will continue to reshape and restructure “every aspect of our personal life” because this new digital technology necessitates a more collective involvement on all of our parts, if only because the new systems necessitate it.

At one point McLuhan states that “electric circuitry profoundly involves men with one another”. A statement that on its surface seems true yet, as we find ourselves as the cutting edge of advancements in artificial intelligence it feels, at times, that we are moving further and further away from this idea.

While electric technology will always force us to reconsider and re-valuate our nature, it is much easier to now hypothesize on a future that is less rooted in the personal aspects of humanity and more in the artificial.


Are the current technologies that we or our peers use today making us more social interdependent than the technologies of the past? And since past is such a subjective term, lets examine technologies since the late 1960’s (when McLuhan first published this work).



electric technology; media shapes societies; integrated electric information connects societies;