Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980)

"The medium is the message. This is merely to say that the personal and social consequences of any medium,— that is, of any extension of ourselves—result from the new scale that is introduced into our affairs by each extension of ourselves or by any new technology."

"The new electronic interdependence re-creates the world in the image of a global village."

"The computer is the most extraordinary of man's technological clothing; it's an extension of our central nervous system. Besides it, the wheel is a mere hula-hoop."

"The wheel is an extension of the foot. The book is an extension of the eye. Clothing, an extension of the skin. Electric circuitry, an extension of the central nervous system."

"It was R. W. Emerson who wrote that 'the human body is the magazine of inventions, the patent-office, where are the models from which every hint was taken. All the tools and engines on earth are only extensions of its limbs and senses.'"

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

"We become what we behold. We shape our tools and then our tools shape us."

"We drive into the future using only our rearview mirror."

"The past went that-a-way. When faced with a totally new situation, we tend always to attach ourselves to the objects, to the flavor of the most recent past. We look at the present through a rearview mirror. We march backwards into the future."

"The spoken word was the first technology by which man was able to let go of his environment in order to grasp it in a new way."

"One of the effects of living with electric information is that we live habitually in a state of information overload. There's always more than you can cope with."

"Our Age of Anxiety is, in great part, the result of trying to do today's job with yesterday's tools and yesterday's concepts."

"Societies have always been shaped more by the nature of the media by which men communicate than by the content of the communication."

"A typewriter is a means of transcribing thought, not expressing it."

"I have, by the way, a peculiar reading habit, developed in the recent years: I read only the right hand page of serious books. If it's a frivolous relaxing book, I read every word. But serious books I read on the right hand side only, because I have discovered enormous redundancy in any well-written book, and I find that by reading only the right hand page, this keeps me very wide awake, filling in the other page out of my own noodle."

"Advertising is an environmental strip tease for a world of abundance."

"Ads are the cave art of the twentieth century."

"Madison Avenue is a very powerful aggression against private consciousness, a demand that you yield your private consciousness to public manipulation."

"The modern Little Red Riding Hood, reared on singing commercials, has no objection to being eaten by the wolf."

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

"A point of view can be a dangerous luxury when substituted for insight and understanding."

"Most of our assumptions have outlived their uselessness."

"An administrator in a bureaucratic world is a man who can feel big by merging his non-entity in an abstraction. A real person in touch with real things inspires terror in him."

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

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

"The scientist rigorously defends his right to be ignorant of almost everything except his specialty."

"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."

"Today the tyrant rules not by club or fist, but disguised as a market researcher, he shepherds his flock in the ways of utility and comfort."

"Where the whole man is involved, there is no work. Work begins with the division of labor."

"There is absolutely no inevitability as long as there is a willingness to contemplate what is happening."

"The twentieth century encounter between alphabetic and electronic faces of culture confers on the printed word a crucial role in staying the return to The Africa Within."