- Amazon Students Members Get an Extra 10% Off Selected Books Here's how (terms and conditions apply)
- Save 10% on selected children’s books, compliments of Amazon Family Promotion exclusive for Prime members .
Understanding Media: (Routledge Classics) Paperback – 18 May 2001
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Special offers and product promotions
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
'McLuhan sings of the furthest reaches of electronic culture, when computer technology has replaced language with instant nonverbal communication.' - Wired
From the Back Cover
'He belongs to that small group of radical dreamers and thinkers who are trying to realize and explore the altered conditions of modern existence ... When the growth of post-Einsteinian mythologies is recorded, McLuhan's work will have its distinct place. He stands at the frontier.' - George Steiner, Times Literary Supplement
When Marshall McLuhan first coined the phrases "global village" and "the medium is the message" in 1964, no-one could have predicted today's information-dependent planet. No-one, that is, except for a handful of science fiction writers and Marshall McLuhan. Understanding Media was written twenty years before the PC revolution and thirty years before the rise of the Internet. Yet McLuhan's insights into our engagement with a variety of media led to a complete rethinking of our entire society. He believed that the message of electronic media foretold the end of humanity as it was known. In 1964, this looked like the paranoid babblings of a madman. In our 21st century digital world, the madman looks quite sane. Understanding Media: the most important book ever written on communication. Ignore its message at your peril.
Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980). Communications theorist and 'high guru' of media culture.See all Product description
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Top customer reviews
The book is challenging and it is scattered and chaotic but there is a cohesiveness to it. I suppose that style of writing was supposed to be symbolic of the way the world is (or is becoming). This book will help you to regain your ability to reintegrate yourself with the real world and stop living life as if you have "autoamputated" your true self only to watch it live on television.
While many of the analogies are "out there," most are poignant and relevent. One example is McLuhan's interpretation of the Narcissus myth from Greek mythology. Narcissus did not fall in love with his own reflection. Narcissus had no idea that the reflection he saw was himself; he thought that what he saw was something other than himself. He became transfixed by the image; it was not love, it was numbness. The television screen is our reflection; we are not separate from it -- it is merely what is inside of us extended to the outside for us to look at, thus the subtitle, The Extensions of Man. We have become Narcissus; the media is the reflection we see and, instead of falling in love with the reflection, we have become numb, forgetting (or not aware) that what we are seeing is really us. Tell me that is not relevant today.
This Marshall goblin argues, indeed shows, that 'human inventiveness' (various mediums invented via the cerebral cortex) is changing human behaviour, and not those ageless genes that have been swimming around since the dawn of biology.
By the way, you can download a lecture by Terence McKenna. His take on all this typographic man business easily surpasses other explanations of what Marshall Mkluhan was trying to say. It is easily googled.
I won't go into examples here because we can see the way mobile phones are changing human behaviour already. You only need to sit in a cafe and look around you. Ok, I will like to use one little example that I only noticed after reading this book, as only masterpieces can change the field of vision of a reader. (Marshall McLuhan saw very far and he is more than the 'global village' cliché. I mean, Marshall McLuhan's ideas are a direct challenge to reductionist science but the poor man is only remembered for slogans!)
Anyway here goes my example... If you look at old black and white photo's from the age before they had automobiles (1890); the people just stand in the middle of roads, like idiots! They are just relaxing and chatting away, right in the middle of a main road in broad daylight. I have even examined old oil paintings from the 18th century and the people were just as suicidal! We would never do that today, would we? You couldn't pay me one million pounds to stand in the middle of the road like those people in the photograph. Their brains were wired differently, you see.
Marshall McLuhan is arguing that the cerebral cortex invents various technologies and those technologies then go on to re-wire the brain! Indeed, today we know that the brain can be re-wired. There was a famous study, a few years back, conducted on the brains of London taxi drivers that found that their brains were slightly 'better' wired blah blah.
This Marshall McLuhan was a genius of some sort and his writings are weird in their persuasive power. We are indeed Janus (two faced) beings. Scientific reductionism is true, only a mad man would argue otherwise, however, the environment definitely plays a part, probably more so that your genome. This is sacrilege, but there you go ...
This is a great book that you really should read if you are getting bored with the ingrained genetic determinism you've been spoon-fed most of your short life. Hurrah !!!
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Most recent customer reviews
Look for similar items by category
- Books > Business, Finance & Law
- Books > Society, Politics & Philosophy > Academic Sociology
- Books > Society, Politics & Philosophy > Social Sciences > Communication Studies > Media & Communication Industries
- Books > Society, Politics & Philosophy > Social Sciences > Communication Studies > Media Studies
- Books > Society, Politics & Philosophy > Social Sciences > Cultural Studies