I would advise you to follow my own reserach on the subject at Academia, and most of it is still unpublished:

Jacques Coulardeau at Academia.edu (20)

MARSHALL McLUHAN

UNDERSTANDINGMEDIA, THE EXTENSIONS OF MAN

ROUTLEDGE, LONDON — 1964

Monday October 14, 2013–9,400 words, 18 pages

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU

https://synopsispaie.academia.edu/JacquesCoulardeau

INITIAL STUDY / STARTING POINT REVIEW(S)

https://www.academia.edu/4769483/MARSHALL_McLUHAN_UNDERSTANDING_MEDIA_THE_EXTENSIONS_OF_MAN_ROUTLEDGE_LONDON_1964

MARSHALL McLUHAN, A PROPHET

THE APOCALYPSE OR SPIRITUAL SALVATION?

FOR A GLOBAL APPROACH OF MENTAL POWER AND CONCEPTUALIZATION

Wednesday January 21, 2015–2,700 words, 5 pages

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU

https://synopsispaie.academia.edu/JacquesCoulardeau

POST SCRIPTUM

https://www.academia.edu/10283790/MARSHALL_McLUHAN_A_PROPHET_THE_APOCALYPSE_OR_SPIRITUAL_SALVATION

AVENTURE À SUIVRE / AN ADVENTURE TO FOLLOW

RESEARCH UNDER CONSTRUCTION WITH IVAN EVE

This is the first leg of a longer study that is in the process of being written. After the review and its illustration I added the 2006 review I posted on Amazon.co.uk, and its comments, for the sake of perspective.

This review is the prolongation of a long study that dealt with, among other topics but essentially, Ray Kurzweil’s “popular-science”-fiction wrapped up as MIT expertise. Marshall McLuhan . . .

[Herbert Marshall McLuhan (1911–1980), a Canadian philosopher in communication theory and he became one of the cornerstones media theory with practical applications in the advertising and television industries. McLuhan coined phrases like “the medium is the message” and the “global village” and for his prediction of the Internet medium he could not know in his life time though the invention of the transportation of data from a computer to another via a telephone line was invented in the Fall 1969 between Stanford, California’s military laboratory and Oakland, California’s US Armed Forces Headquarters for the Pacific (and at the time the Vietnam war). I would refer you to the Official Site of the Estate of Marshall McLuhan at http://www.marshallmcluhan.com/ if you want to know more about him. Accessed October 8, 2013.]

… is essential here because he deals with the media and not the machines, or rather with all inventions, mechanical or not, starting with oral language, considered as media all of them extending man’s body, body parts, central nervous system and even “consciousness” as he calls the mind. We will concentrate on his 1964 book Understanding Media, The extensions of Man.

We have to get some detail on his theory and, to remain in our own logic, consider it in a phylogenic perspective though Marshall McLuhan does not envisage any other human phase before the invention of writing systems (even his short chapter on “The Spoken Word” is entirely oriented towards writing systems).

Hence he starts considering humanity around 5,000 years ago in a sequential presentation of various inventions one after another in chronological order. What’s more he centers his interest on what he calls the “electric age” that starts with the “discovery” of electricity and the invention of means to produce, store and transport it.

His electric age is based on the stage of universal (though even today it is still not fully achieved) networked distribution (the electrical grid) of this electricity characterized as continuous and instantaneous, meaning we can use it at any time and in any place we want at the commanding tip of one finger pressing a button on or off.

In other words his discourse is centered on the last one hundred years when he wrote this essential book in the 1960s and today for us on the last 150 years.

I will consider his approach in both phylogenic and psychogenetic perspective.

The first thing we have to do to penetrate his meaning is to list the various inventions he considers in the book and try to find out what extensions of man’s body or body parts he refers them to. We will present this list in the form of a table. He considers 26 inventions in 26 separate chapters. We have to keep in mind this conclusion of chapter 21:

“The owners of media always endeavor to give the public what it wants, because they sense that their power is in the medium and not in the message or the program” [Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media, The extensions of Man , Routledge, London, 1964, p. 216)

Written by

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, PhD in Germanic Linguistics (University Lille III) and ESP Teaching (University Bordeaux II) has been teaching all types of ESP

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