The Medium is the Message

The Medium is the Message by Marshall Mcluhan emphasizes that the “medium” is the technological extension of a human sense. Throughout the chapter, Mcluhan uses multiple examples to explain his theory. One example that was frequently mentioned was the electric light. Mcluhan states that the way that the light is being used is important because the light itself shapes and controls human association and action. The chapter also includes examples from several of Shakespeare’s works like Romeo and Juliet, Othello, and Troilus and Cressida. Mcluhan is basically saying that the way a message is transmitted affects how it is perceived.

Let me first start off by saying that this was not an easy read for me. I feel as though Mcluhan used an excessive amount of examples and it was very hard for me to follow what he was saying throughout the article.The ideas just weren’t connecting for me. What I think he is saying is that the medium itself has its own content and often helps human senses. For example, the electric light is an extension of human vision in the dark. The electric light does not necessarily have content but it’s effects give an overall message. This message is helpful to human society. Another point I think he is making is that the medium itself can can shape a person’s perspective, not just the message that is coming from the medium. I think that this means that the way we perceive a medium helps us better understand the message. The characteristics of the medium can affect the perception of the content. Mcluhan also touches on the fact that the content of one medium is always another medium. For example,  the content of writing is speech and the written word is content of print. I somewhat understand this idea. Basically, the medium is an extension of something else; another medium. Overall, I don’t really have much to say about this reading because I could barely grasp the message.


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