Marshall McLuhan
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Marhall McLuhan (CA, 1911 – 1980) had already noted in the 1960s that the speed and pervasiveness of electronic communication was superseding the rational and reflective abilities of literacy. The technologies that brought us here are built through rational disinterested scientific method, but generate an immersive environment where we lose grasp of private identity and long for a pre-literate togetherness in a ‘Global Village’. His ‘Global Village’ came to exemplify the uncritical Summer of Love communality of the Hippies, but it was a misappropriation and misunderstanding of McLuhan’s meaning. For McLuhan the ‘Global Village’ was a place of violent terror, where there was constant surveillance and where privacy was ‘merely ignored’, as he frankly describes in a famous interview with Canadian talk show host Mike McManus.
McLuhan rose to prominence as perhaps the most famous cultural critic of his age with an analysis that directly engaged with the transformations emerging with the introduction of electronic technologies. His involvement was gestural, reason alone would not suffice to grapple with the contemporary conditions, there was a techno-cultural revolution afoot, which was completely disrupting how human beings had perceived the world for hundreds of years.