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Accepting the Uncomfortable

Was just reading through some old Instapaper stuff and ran across this post celebrating what would have been Marshall McLuhan’s 100th birthday. It includes an excerpt of an interview McLuhan did with Playboy and this excellent explanation of McLuhan’s approach:

I’m not advocating anything; I’m merely probing and predicting trends. Even if I opposed them or thought them disastrous, I couldn’t stop them, so why waste my time lamenting? As Carlyle said of author Margaret Fuller after she remarked, “I accept the Universe”: “She’d better.” I see no possibility of a worldwide Luddite rebellion that will smash all machinery to bits, so we might as well sit back and see what is happening and what will happen to us in a cybernetic world. Resenting a new technology will not halt its progress.

I’ve written about this in the past, but I think one of the things that amazes me most about McLuhan was his ability to separate himself so well. The things he said that people struggle with most (like content doesn’t matter as much as the medium) they struggle with because it makes them uncomfortable as content creators (I’m speaking from personal experience here). Even reading what he said above makes me feel a bit uncomfortable as it feels like one shouldn’t just accept things … But who am I to say?

February 29, 2012 // This post is about: ,


  • Angel says:

    It’s hard to keep one’s emotions out of the way. If I get into a discussion about something that others may not agree with (myself included), I have to add that I’m not talking about what should be, but what is. I really dig that McLuhan quote you included: “Resenting a new technology will not halt its progress.” It starts to get funny when you think about it, like attempting to wage all-out war on the weather. “Rain storm, I’m resenting you so hard right now.” And the same can be said about a change in social mores and perceptions.

    So, on content versus medium…who wins?

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