The New Word comment


Questioning the new word.



The spoken word: "Isocrates was a great speech teacher who believed that it is language which separates us from animals. He believes that there are three essentials for learning, natural ability, training and practice. This is where it gets interesting, he maintained that "learning to speak properly was tantamount to learning to think properly" "Essential McLuhan" Edited by Eric McLuhan & Frank Zingrone

"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." Marshall McLuhan 1995 "Essential McLuhan" Edited by Eric McLuhan & Frank Zingrone

The written word: "In the Phaedrus, Plato argued that the new arrival of writing would revolutionize culture for the worst. He suggested that it would substitute reminiscence for thought and mechanical learning for the true dialect of the living quest for truth by discourse and conversation." Marshall McLuhan 1954 "Essential McLuhan" Edited by Eric McLuhan & Frank Zingrone

"The alphabet was one thing when applied to clay or stone, and quite another when set down on light papyrus." Marshall McLuhan 1964 "Essential McLuhan" Edited by Eric McLuhan & Frank Zingrone

The electronic word: "The new media are not bridges between man and nature; they are nature." Marshall McLuhan 1969
Edited by Eric McLuhan & Frank Zingrone "Essential McLuhan"

"The news automatically becomes the real world for the TV user and is not a substitute for reality, but is itself an immediate reality." Marshall McLuhan 1978 "Essential McLuhan" Edited by Eric McLuhan & Frank Zingrone

"Today we are beginning to notice that the new media are not just mechanical gimmicks for creating worlds of illusion, but new languages with new and unique powers of expression." Marshall McLuhan 1957 "Essential McLuhan" Edited by Eric McLuhan & Frank Zingrone

"New media may at first appear as mere codes of transmission for older achievement and established patterns of thought. But nobody could make the mistake of supposing that phonetic writing merely made it possible for the Greeks to set down in visual order what they had though and known before writing. In the same way printing made literature possible. It did not merely encode literature." Marshall McLuhan 1960 "Essential McLuhan" Edited by Eric McLuhan & Frank Zingrone

I get the picture.

But wow, things are really moving along: A modern computer (Apple Macintosh G4) is capable of completing a calculation faster than the light takes to travel from its monitor to your eyeballs. An average home hard drive holds 10 Gigabytes of information (1 billion bits of information). Remember when digital desk calculators seemed impressive?

We are seeing the beginning of a snowball effect based on technology which becomes 68 billion times more powerful in a single human lifetime - the microchip. And then double that again, only a year and a half later, according to Moore's law, powering an Internet which is due to become more extensive than the telephone network in 2002 if not earlier, doubling every 100 days (Interactive Week) adding users quicker than the worlds population is growing (7 new users a second whereas the worlds population increases by 3 people a second according to The Herald Tribune).

What kind of world is developing here?

What kind of dangers & opportunities are there?

What does literacy mean in this environment?

How can we create information environment up to the task of augmenting us rather than turning us into icon clicking drones?

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