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Marshall McLuhan Quotes

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“To the blind all things are sudden.”

“Touch does not create a connection but an interval.”

“Advertising is itself an enormous establishment of satisfactions. In fact, most people would not know what the meaning of their positions was without advertising. Advertising tells them how they feel about what they have, not what they should have.”

“The paradox is the touch does not unite but separate and so as people become more involved in each other the more distance they feel the need of between themselves.”

“You know, all this genius stuff and so on is rather useless categorizing. There are people who just have to notice what's going around them. Why the hell call them geniuses? They're awake. Most people rather sleep it out. You know, normal people in normal situations tend to black out nearly the whole thing in the interests of comfort. Ordinary perceptions are deliberately deadened to permit life to be bearable.”

“In order to make anything noticeable you have to yank it out of its original context.”

“Why should I interrupt my education by going to school?”

“There is absolutely no inevitability, so long as there is a willingness to contemplate what is happening.”

“This is the main form of achieving identity. Getting beaten up or beating somebody else up. It's what we call the educational system. The educational system is a form of warfare conducted against your nervous system. Trying to shape it and pattern into patterns which we approve of in which you have never heard of.”

“When you're totally involved in any situation you have no point of view. You have to have detachment, you have to be outside the situation to have a point of view.”

“Every medium creates an environment and that is always invisible. You name it, any medium, whatever, creates a new environment which is invisible. And it is this medium, the hidden one, that is the message, in all cases. The message of all technologies is the environment that it creates … It's fascinating simply because the new environments are always unnoticed by the people who live in them and who make them.”

“War as educator is matched by education as warfare. In which you ruthlessly impose on other people a pattern of perception and feeling. Teach them how to behave. Teach them how to be neat and tidy. Teach them how to fit in. This is our own goal in education.”

“Civilized means visual.”

“If you push one sense down the others goes up. That's true for all the senses. So if you lower the lights you hear better.”

“We don't have a clue as to who to blame for anything, really. The act of placing the blame is itself escapism. Value judgments, in these matters, are pure escapism. They serve that function of taking us off the hook, taking the heat off.”

“We are living mythically but we still try to think rationally, in the old nineteenth century pattern. But our lives are actually conducted at mythic speeds and multi-levels of things happening, many levels at once, as in a myth.”

“When you're really committed or involved you can't have a point of view…No tribal group can have a point of view, they're committed. They're totally involved.”

“The body doesn't fit into an environment anymore it makes the environment.”

“Affluence creates poverty.”

“The scientist has great trouble looking forward past his problem because his knowledge gets in the way. It is only the very ignorant person who can get past that problem because he is not fogged over by knowledge. When you’re looking for new answers to new questions, it is knowledge itself that blocks progress. It is knowledge that creates real ignorance, just as wealth creates poverty. Every time a new discovery is made, enormous new areas of ignorance are opened up.”

“It is the environment that changes people, not the technology.”

“Any specialist is going to see to it that his specialty is protected against any invasion from any quarter.”

“The natural tendency is to use any new technology for the old purposes.”

“Presumably people tend to know least about the things they're most imposed upon by. There seems to be a mechanism of protective inihibitions so the people automatically seal off the areas where experience is maximal. They seem to know least about the areas that they are most involved in experientially.”

“The artist, the enema of society, points out things that many people would prefer not to notice.”

“Today's child is bewildered when he enters the 19th century environment that still characterizes the educational establishment, where information is scarce but ordered and structured by fragmented, classified patterns, subjects and schedules.”

“If it works, it's obsolete.”

“Politics offers yesterday's answers to today's questions.”

“We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us.”

“You mean my whole fallacy's wrong?”

“Violence is the quest for identity.”

“A point of view means a static fixed position and you can't have a static fixed position in the electric age. It's impossible to have a point of view in the electric age and have any meaning at all. You've got to be everywhere at once whether you like it or not. You have to be participating in everything going on at the same time and that is not a point of view.”

“Children are the messages that we send to the future.”

“Our Age of Anxiety is, in great part, the result of trying to do today's job with yesterday's tools and yesterday's concepts.”

“The ignorance of how to use new knowledge stockpiles exponentially.”

“We look at the present through a rear-view mirror. We march backwards into the future.”

“Education is war declared on the young.”