McLuhan on War

Marshall McLuhan envisioned WW3 as a vast online conflict very similar to what we are currently experiencing. A conflict between the new identities and thinking patterns spawned by rapid technological change and those still clinging to traditional identities and patterns.

McLuhan’s thinking, writing, and speaking style is both enigmatic and provocative. He does this purposely, to make the reader/listener uncomfortable (like a Zen ​koan​) in order to force them out of the comfort of their current frame of reference and make them aware of a larger reality they might not have words to describe yet.

  • The classic example of this is “​the ​​medium is the message!​” The phrase roughly means ​​that our new technologies ​transform us​ as we learn to use them to change the world around us. How does McLuhan see technologies transforming us?
  • In McLuhan’s view, the technologies we invent are are best seen as extensions of our bodies and these extensions cause subtle, but substantial, changes in4perception and thought. Changes that radically transform the way we see ourselves, communicate with each other, and organize our societies.
  • Obviously, this transformation is painful ​and​ worse: we aren’t fully aware of what is happening to us ​while​ the transformation is occurring. ​Sounds about right….

The Medium is the Warfare

Next, McLuhan maintained that…

  • Changes in the dominant technological medium would create profound changes in identity — how we see ourselves. This new identity will demand equally profound changes in how society should be organized.
  • This, naturally, creates a rift between those who identify themselves in traditional ways and those who identify themselves in the new way. Worse: these two groups don’t even think in the same way.
  • This rift causes wars (terrible ones). The classic example: the printing press > the Reformation > the rise of the nation-state.

Read More at Global Guerrillas Report

Read the rest at Global Guerrillas Report