= The Laws of Media =
Towards the end of his life, McLuhan and his son Eric embarked on a project to update the 1964 ''Understanding Media;'' the unexpected result was ''Laws of Media: The New Science'' (1988), published after McLuhan’s death (in 1980) by his son. ''Laws of Media'' seeks to answer the following questions:
* What statements can we make about media that anyone can test--prove or disprove?
* What do all media have in common?
* What do they do?
These questions resulted in the formulation of the following four laws of media:
# '''<no>Extension/Enhancement</no>:''' Every technology extends or amplifies some organ or faculty of the user. What does the medium enhance or intensify?<p>
# '''<no>Closure/Obsolescence</no>:''' Because there is equilibrium in sensibility, when one area of experience is heightened or intensified, another is diminished or numbed. What is pushed aside or obsolesced by the new medium?<p>
# '''Reversal:''' Every form, pushed to the limit of its potential, reverses its characteristics.<p>
# '''Retrieval:''' The content of any medium is an older medium.<p>
This tetrad of the effects of technologies is not sequential, but rather simultaneous. All four aspects are inherent from the start, and all four aspects are complementary.
]]] ~~--[http://web.archive.org/web/20010219062605/http://www.mala.bc.ca/~soules/media212/mcluhan.htm McLuhan Light and Dark]~~ ]]]
Examples from the "Tetradic Glossary" of '''[Local:McLuhan/GlobalVillage The Global Village]''':
== Printed Word ==
# Amplifies private ownership, the competitive goal-oriented individual.
# Obsolesces slang, dialects, and group identity, separates composition and performance, divorce of eye and ear.
# Retrieves tribal elitism, charmed circle
# With flip from manuscript into mass production via print comes the corporate reading public and the "historical sense"
== Electric Media ==
# Amplification of scope of simultaneity and service environment as information.
# Obsolesces the segmented visual, connected, and logical.
# Retrieves the subliminal, audile-tactile dialogue
# Etherialization: the sender gets sent.
== Telephone ==
# Enlarges the impact and speed of the private voice.
# Erodes the body as hardware; creates the disembodied consciousness.
# Retrieves sense of telepathy.
# Reverses into the party-line; omnipresence, like the conference call or teleconferencing.
== Radio-Television ==
# Improves simultaneous access to entire planet--everybody: "On the air you're everywhere"
# Obsolesces wires, cables and physical bodies
# Retrieves tribal ecological environments: echo, trauma, paranoia, and also brings back primacy of the spatial, musical, and acoustic.
# Reverses into global village theater (Orson Welles's Invasion From Mars: no spectators, only actors).
== Cable TV ==
# Amplifies quality and diversity of signal pickup.
# Obsoleces diffusion broadcasting.
# Retrieves early transmission broadcast pattern point-to-point (ship to shore).
# Reversal is flip to home broadcasting.
== Teletext ==
# Printed radio; enhances headline service, like early radio.
# Obsolesces prolonged TV watching; viewer uses service selectively for short intervals.
# Retrieves silent film dialogue card, pictograph or pun style; teletype format.
# Reverses into interactive video-text; qualitative data filter, via data bank.
== Computer ==
# Accelerates logical sequential calculations to speed of light.
# Erodes or bypasses mechanical processes and human logic in all sequential operations.
# Highlights "numbers is all" philosophy, and reduces numbering to body count by touch.
# Flips into the simultaneous from the sequential; accentuates acoustic over visual space to produce pattern recognition.
== Global Media Networking ==
# Instantaneous diverse media transmission on global basis; simultaneous planetary feed and counter-feed.
# [Deoxy:videx/stupid Erodes human ability to code and decode in real time.]
# Brings back the [Find:babel Tower of Babel]: group voice in the ether.
# Reverses into loss of specialism; [Deoxy:audio/mcluhan_natureisover.m3u programmed earth].
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