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Short Book Review: the medium is the MASSAGE

Submitted: May 01, 2012

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Submitted: May 01, 2012



Book Review

"medium is the massage an inventory of effects"



"We shape are tools then there after our tools shape us." I take this phrase to be a great way to look at our work for the reason that we are the creators of the tools and we create those tools so that we do not have to work as hard every time we see that particular device is needed. We generally know what it will normally do, or at least what it is intended to do, and what it might be able to replace. We often know what to except considering the advantages and disadvantages of the object.

Although we can predict certain situations there are some cases that, after a long period of time and experience with the new innovation, we look backward and realize that there were some effects of which we were entirely unaware at the time of the outset. We are proud of our inventions but we have made living impossible.

In Marshall McLuhan's book "medium is the massage an inventory of effects" he expresses thoughts about the individuals in this world and their relationship with media and technology. This book takes you on a tour of a variety of inventions that reshape our world. This particular book of Marshall McLuhan was first published in 1967; McLuhan talks about extensions throughout every human aspect along with new media styles that have shaped what we call the present day.

McLuhan said that a "massage" is, "the change of scale or pace or pattern" that a new invention "introduces into human affairs." "All media are extensions of some human faculty-psychic or physical."

Reading this today in 2012 I see it meaning that once a message is delivered once a new idea is stated out of the mind of an individual it becomes a part of the moment and it is contributing to something larger then realized at the time. Either the person who said it or the people that heard or both each had equal opportunity to gain information they did not know. McLuhan opens up eyes to the understanding of how we as citizens has feed off each other and how we will continue to share ideas either for the best or not. Can you remember when no one had cell phones or telephones at all? What about when there were no vehicles or televisions. Think back to the time of pen and paper. Great you can what going to happen with the million children grow up in a known digital world. In McLuhan he takes us through a couple of transformation that have brought us to today’s time of interaction. In doing this we have created a world of our own. McLuhan desires for us to look beyond the recognizable and seek the non-obvious modifications of effects that are enabled, enhanced, accelerated or extended by the new society. He uses examples of the wheel being an extension of our legs and the book being an extension of our eyes and the clothes and extension of our skin. The alphabet was one of the skills learned at an age of when it is most likely to be absorbed the easiest. McLuhan mentions the alphabet and how it was once known to be taught as becoming an unconscious manner. Today in 2012 parents are able to put on a video and sit the child in front of the television, a video that teaches your child how to read with little to no effort from you.

Read in “medium is the massage”, "The thing of it is, we must live with the living."

If we continue on this path it can work for we the people in either for our disadvantage or for our advantage. If you are able to relate to the examples I used earlier with phones and older technologies then you can see the separation of two worlds. Because we can visualize that we are able to expand on what I see to be the true understanding of where you came from. To be able to make things more advanced you must have a complete understanding a true understanding of its purpose. If you want to make a small room look bigger, paint it white. If you want to make a large room look smaller, paint it a deep, dark, shade. It will remain the same size, you won't fool the tape measure, but you will influence the opinion of anyone who enters that space, even if they happen to be the person who has just helped you paint it. People, who seek success, soon learn that they need to develop the ability to look beyond the apparently obvious.

Now think about the ones that were not able to recognize my examples what happens later of course much later down the line when they lose touch with the reality of life.


Cainer, Jonathan. “The Courier-Mail,” 02 May2012

McLuhan, Marshall. “the medium is the MASSAGE,” AN INVENTORY OF EFFECTS. 1967 Gingko Press Incorporate

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