With telephone and TV it is not so much the message as the sender that is “sent.”


A selection of some our favourite aphorisms and quotes from Marshall McLuhan.

I don’t necessarily agree with everything I say.

Art is anything you can get away with.

It is the framework which changes with each new technology and not just the picture within the frame.

Admittedly, most days I tend toward critique, not praise of digital media and technology.

Man remains as unaware of the psychic and social effects of his new technology as a fish of the water it swims in

Now man is beginning to wear his brain outside his skull and his nerves outside his skin; new technology breeds new man.

Resenting a new technology will not halt its progress.

The Western world is being revolutionized by the electric media as rapidly as the East is being Westernized, and although the society that eventually emerges may be superior to our own, the process of change is agonizing.

In this electronic age we see ourselves being translated more and more into the form of information, moving toward the technological extension of consciousness.

I’m flattered to hear my work described as hallucinogenic, but I suspect that some of my academic critics find me a bad trip.

We drive into the future using only our rearview mirror.

Electricity makes possible — and not in the distant future, either — an amplification of human consciousness on a world scale, without any verbalization at all.

The content of a medium is like the juicy piece of meat carried by the burglar to distract the watchdog of the mind.

Mysticism is just tomorrow’s science dreamed today.

There are no passengers on spaceship earth. We are all crew.

A successful book cannot afford to be more than ten percent new.

The future of the book is the blurb.

Anyone who tries to make a distinction between education and entertainment doesn’t know the first thing about either.

To expect a ‘turned on’ child of the electric age to respond to the old education modes is rather like expecting an eagle to swim. It’s simply not within his environment, and therefore incomprehensible.

The specialist is one who never makes small mistakes while moving toward the grand fallacy.

The more the data banks record about each one of us, the less we exist.

Publication is a self-invasion of privacy.

In big industry new ideas are invited to rear their heads so they can be clobbered at once. The idea department of a big firm is a sort of lab for isolating dangerous viruses.

The generation gap is actually a chasm, separating not two age groups but two vastly divergent cultures.

With telephone and TV it is not so much the message as the sender that is “sent.”

Everything we observe about the media points in the direction of tribal man, and away from individual man.

Politics offers yesterday’s answers to today’s questions.

Whenever the dragon’s teeth of technological change are sown, we reap a whirlwind of violence.

In our software world of instant electric communications movement, politics is shifting from the old patterns of political representation by electoral delegation to a new form of spontaneous and instantaneous communal involvement in all areas of decision making.

Politics will eventually be replaced by imagery. The politician will be only too happy to abdicate in favor of his image, because the image will be much more powerful than he could ever be.

Historians and archaeologists will one day discover that the ads of our time are the richest and most faithful reflections that any society ever made of its entire range of activities.

Far more thought and care go into the composition of any prominent ad in a newspaper or magazine than go into the writing of their features and editorials.

In order to have a highly industrialized or marketing life you have to devise very superficial relationships for people.

Art is at its most significant is a Distant Early Warning System that can always be relied on to tell the old culture what is beginning to happen to it.

I expect to see the coming decades transform the planet into an art form.

It’s vital to adopt a posture of arrogant superiority; instead of scurrying into a corner and wailing about what media are doing to us, one should charge straight ahead and kick them in the electrodes.

I feel that we’re standing on the threshold of a liberating and exhilarating world in which the human tribe can become truly one family and man’s consciousness can be freed from the shackles of mechanical culture and enabled to roam the cosmos.

I have nothing but distaste for the process of change.