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Smalltalk from a peptimistic forefather,
by Marshall Mc Luhan

News, far more than art, is artifact.

The content of any medium is always another medium. The content of writing is speech, just as the written word is the content of print, and print is the content of the telegraph.

All media are active metaphors in their power to translate experience into new forms.

In the name of progress, our official culture is striving to force the new media to do the work of the old.

The effect comes before the cause. We have laid out our own electric networks on a global scale by cable, by telegraph, by radio, by all sorts of electric means. These circuits are loaded with data that move instantly and which have become indispensable to all decision makers in business, in education, and in politics. These circuits have a peculiar character not just of connecting us with one another but of involving us with one another. It is because of the speed. With circuitry the feedback occurs at the same moment the event occurs.

Whereas convictions depend on speed-ups, justice requires delay.

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

Invention is the mother of necessities.

People don't actually read newspapers. They step into them every morning like a hot bath.

Today each of us lives several hundred years in a decade.
When you are on the phone or on the air, you have no body.
Tomorrow is our permanent address.

All advertising advertises advertising.

This information is top security. When you have read it, destroy yourself.

The future of the book is the blurb.

The ignorance of how to use knowledge stockpiles exponentially.

Ours is a brand-new world of allatonceness. 'Time' has ceased, 'space' has vanished. We now live in a global village...a simultaneous happening. […] Electric circuitry profoundly involves men with one another. Information pours upon us, instantaneously and continuously. As soon as information is acquired, it is very rapidly replaced by still newer information. Our electrically-configured world has forced us to move from the habit of data classification to the mode of pattern recognition. We can no longer build serially, block-by-block, step-by-step, because instant communication insures that all factors of the environment and of experience co-exist in a state of active interplay.

The peculiar and abstract manipulation of information is a means of creating wealth.

The user is the content.

Television is teaching all the time. It does more educating than all the schools and all the institutions of higher learning.

Technologies are not simply inventions which people employ but are the means by which people are re-invented.

As automation takes hold, it becomes obvious that information is the crucial commodity, and that solid products are merely incidental to the information movement.

Education is ideally civil defence against media fall-out.

Under electric technology the entire business of man becomes learning and knowing, and all forms of wealth result from the movement of information.

The story of modern America begins with the discovery of the white man by the indians.

Once we surrendered our senses and nervous systems to the private manipulation of those who would try to benefit from taking a lease on our eyes and ears and nerves, we don't really have any rights left. Leasing our eyes and ears and nerves to commercial interests is like handing over the common speech to a private corporation, or like giving the earth's atmosphere to a company as a monopoly.

Today the business of business is becoming the constant invention of new business.

The nature of people demands that most of them be engaged in the most frivolous possible activities - like making money.

Vietnam was lost in the living rooms of America, not in the battlefields of Vietnam.

Men on frontiers whether of time or space, abandon their previous identities. Neighborhood gives identity. Frontiers snatch it away.

Why do the wheels keep hurrying us downtown? It's the filing cabinet, the obsession with the contents of the files that makes it necessary for us to rush back and forth from suburb to downtown. All of these materials could be just as available on closed circuit at home.

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 car has become the carapace, the protective and aggressive shell, of urban and suburban man.

The trouble with cheap, specialized education is that you never stop paying for it.

At the speed of light, policies and political parties yield place to charismatic images.

Spaceship Earth is still operated by railway conductors, just as NASA is managed by men with Newtonian goals.

The road is our major architectural form.

A road is a flattened-out wheel, rolled up in the belly of an aeroplane.

The missing link created far more interest than all the chains and explanations of being.

The answers are always inside the problem, not outside.

One of the nicest things about being big is the luxury of thinking little.

Food for the mind is like food for the body: the inputs are never the same as the outputs.

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

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

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

You mean my whole fallacy's wrong?