Think About It

[From Bruce Gregory (971004.1030 EDT)]

"Concepts are provisional affairs for apprehending reality;
their value is in the grip they provide. This book, therefore,
tries to present at once representative aspects of the
reality and a wide range of ideas for taking hold of it. The
ideas are very secondary devices for clambering up and
over rock faces. Those readers who undertake merely to
query the ideas will miss their use for getting at the
material."

                        Marshall McLuhan
                        _The Mechanical Bride_

nth Best

[From Bill Powers (971004.1444 MDT)]

[From Bruce Gregory (971004.1030 EDT)]

"Concepts are provisional affairs for apprehending reality;
their value is in the grip they provide. This book, therefore,
tries to present at once representative aspects of the
reality and a wide range of ideas for taking hold of it. The
ideas are very secondary devices for clambering up and
over rock faces. Those readers who undertake merely to
query the ideas will miss their use for getting at the
material."

                       Marshall McLuhan
                       _The Mechanical Bride_

I don't like it. This is the usual ploy when one wants to throw metaphors
around and doesn't want the audience asking any hard questions, like is
this a valid metaphor? McLuhan's writing is a prime example of the kind of
knowledge that doesn't actually require you to know anything.

Best,

Bill P.

[From Bruce Gregory (971004.1723 EDT)]

Bill Powers (971004.1444 MDT)]

I don't like it. This is the usual ploy when one wants to throw metaphors
around and doesn't want the audience asking any hard questions, like is
this a valid metaphor? McLuhan's writing is a prime example of the kind

of

knowledge that doesn't actually require you to know anything.

He always speaks very highly of you...

n'th Best

[From Bruce Gregory (971005.1120 EDT)]

"Ours is the first age in which many thousands of
the best-trained individual minds have made it a
full-time business to get inside the collective public
mind. To get inside in order to manipulate, exploit
control [sic] is the object now. And to generate heat
not light is the intention. To keep everybody in the
helpless state engendered by prolonged mental
rutting is the effect of many ads and much
entertainment alike.

Since so many minds are engaged in bringing
about this condition of public helplessness, and
since these programs of commercial education are
so much more expensive and influential than the
relatively punt offerings sponsored by schools and
colleges, it seemed fitting to devise a method for
reversing the process. Why not use the new
commercial education as a means of enlightening
its intended praey? Why not assist the public to
observe consiously the drama which is intended to
operate on it uncounsciously?

As this method was followed, "A Descent Into
The Maelstrom" by Edgar Poe kept coming to
mind. Poe's sailor saved himself by studying the
action of the maelstrom and byco-operating with it.
The present book likelwise makes few attempts to
attack the very considerable currents and
pressures set up around us today by the the
mechanical agencies of the press, radio, movies,
and advertising. It does attempt to set the reader
at the center of the revolving picture created by
these affairs where he may observe the action
that is in progress and in which everybody is
involved. From the analysis of that action, it is
hoped, many individual strategies may suggest
themselves.

But it is seldom the business of this book to take
account of such strategies.

Poe's sailor says that when locked in by the
whirling walls and the numerous objects which
floated in that environment:

   I must have been delerious, for even I sought
   amusement in speculating upon the relative
   velocities of their several descents toward
   the foam below.

It was this amusement born of his rational
detatchment of a spectator of his own
sit uation that gave him the thread which led
him out of the Labyrinth. And it is in the same
spirit that this book is offered as an amusement.
Many who are accustomed to the note of moral
indignation will mistake this amusement for
mere indifference. But the time fror anger and
protest is in the early stages of a new process.
The present stage is extremely advanced.
Moreover, it is full, not only of destructiveness,
but also of promises of rich new developments
to which moral indignation is a very poor guide.

                        Marshall McLuhan
                        _The Mechanical Bride_

n'th Best

[From Fred Nickols (971006.1325)]

Bruce Gregory (971005.1120 EDT)

"Ours is the first age in which many thousands of
the best-trained individual minds have made it a
full-time business to get inside the collective public
mind. To get inside in order to manipulate, exploit
control [sic] is the object now.

<snip>

That's a pretty good recap of the history of the human race.

<snip>

As this method was followed, "A Descent Into
The Maelstrom" by Edgar Poe kept coming to
mind. Poe's sailor saved himself by studying the
action of the maelstrom and byco-operating with it.

In my days as an organization development (OD) specialist
this was called "organizational jiu-jitsu" and it was central
to the art of "guerrilla OD" (i.e., of doing organization
development kinds of things without calling it that).
More plainly put: "Real change agents don't advertise."

<snip>

Many who are accustomed to the note of moral
indignation will mistake this amusement for
mere indifference. But the time fror anger and
protest is in the early stages of a new process.
The present stage is extremely advanced.
Moreover, it is full, not only of destructiveness,
but also of promises of rich new developments
to which moral indignation is a very poor guide.

                       Marshall McLuhan
                       _The Mechanical Bride_

<snip>

That's clearly a warning to not cut off your nose to spite your face.
My grandma used to tell me that, so McLuhan's in good company.

In any event, I have just adopted a reference condition that won't be
satisfied until I've purchased and read The Mechanical Bride.

I'm on vacation down in Florida (Sanibel-Captiva, just off Fort Myers),
and I need something to read besides the dull, boring stuff that passes
for management literature nowadays. Thanks for touting McLuhan's book.
Regards,

Fred Nickols
Senior Consultant
The Distance Consulting Company
nickols@worldnet.att.net