norayoung.ca | At the Corner of Technology and Culture

McLuhan Fer Ya

A guest I interviewed today for Spark reminded me of a great McLuhan quotation: “We look at the present through a rear-view mirror. We march backwards into the future.”

We’re always looking at technological change in its immediate technical impacts, but with very little sense of all the social organization that surrounds it. The way the social changes with new technology always seems to catch us by surprise. Reminds me of another great bit of McLuhanism: “As long as we adopt the Narcissus attitude of regarding the extensions of our own bodies as really out there and really independent of us, we will meet all technological challenges with the same sort of banana-skin pirouette and collapse.”

What would it mean to look at our technologies, those ‘extensions of our own bodies’ as imbued with culture, and embedded within culture?

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