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Discuss the Marshall Mcluhan’s Proposition of ‘Extensions’ and ‘Amputations’ in Relation to a New Technological Development in Television.

In: Social Issues

Submitted By blaine
Words 2035
Pages 9
Television has extended its own self to be familiar with many technologies, spreading its technological alliances to become even more part of our lives. When the shift in technology from analogue to digital became apparent, a decoder was made for the masses to receive television that previously had to be paid for in subscription. The digital box extends the amount of channels sent on one signal, increasing the media coverage and which in turn “creates extensions of the human body and senses” according to McLuhan, every extension has an amputation. The digital box is an over extension of the television, it has become part of television to extent senses and body for the masses. This has established a wider connection, forming a larger global tribe and opening up more space for information from the media to the senses. The demand for constant supply of content has distorted our global view, everything must be simultaneous and we must be involved in everything. Everything we must be involved in is shown on digital television.
The chances to connect with more people than before is immense, their visions and their ideas are now at the forefront of our technology. In theory this should extent the broadcasting systems to reach more people and more people, creating a clearer view of the world. As McLuhan has put it “the electronic age’ has sealed ‘the entire human family into a single global tribe.” This should reach out as a united front connecting every singular person through the medium of television. The digital box has lifted restraints from singular large corporations, creating much smaller independent companies. This gives more of an opening for more social and cultural events to be depicted. The idea that we can watch important happenings from across the world bonds us, because of the shared experience, this new ‘electronic interdependence recreates the world in the image of a global village.’ McLuhan is describing that everybody sees the same images because of the common reliance on the medium television, as everybody watches television it defines us. As William R put it, ‘the steam engine, the automobile, television, the atomic bomb, have made the modern man and the modern condition.’ The world is shaped and formed inside the television. This means our joint lives and history has been encapsulated into television, we have become part of our technology as it has become part of us. We feel that what we saw is how it must be. The one perception of an incident rarely changes from one channel to the next, so is this a broad view of the world, or a jointly decided opinion to be correct way to show the information.

Our gateway to others, our understanding of others, the way to be like others is available through the digital box. It is distorting the world by changing people. “Today, electronics and automation make mandatory that everybody adjusts to the vast global environment as if it were his little home town.” We’re subjected to accepting the information offered to us from the digital box with open arms, and embracing it as part of our lives. We understand the television because it is us and this is what we will be remembered for and as. ”As electronically contracted, the globe is no more than a village. Electric speed at bringing all social and political functions together in a sudden implosion has heightened human awareness of responsibility to an intense degree.” The weight of world is on everybody shoulders, as a means of controlling and adapting our social and personal habits. We have a broad understanding of a vast world because we have built upon our body using technology such as the digital box. This is only subject to our awareness to what we perceive, which is everything that we expect to see. Schopenhauer looked at it as “an independent mind will think things that no one else can think about those things which everyone else already sees.” Due to the over-extensions of television everything is noticed, everybody sees the same, limiting the creative power. A major amputation is the cost of our characteristic of distinctiveness, and the lack of realization that there is another world outside the digital extension. ‘Electric technology… would seem to render individualism obsolete and corporate interdependence mandatory.’ The only reason anything is shown or depicted on digital television is the corporate investment.
We have evolved as such ‘we have extended our central nervous system in a global embrace, abolishing both space and time as far as our planet is concerned.” If there is a socially important event going on anywhere in the world, everyone can receive their invitation via their digital box. In this sense, McLuhan has described different technology as hot and cool Medias. You, as the audience are joining in on what you watch on TV because it is a ‘lower intensity of information.’ This gives the audience a longer period of time to reflect on what they being shown, and ‘fill in the gaps.’ Wheeler M These chances to create your own narrative immerse you and the images together. Mixing personal reality and the one depicted on TV. ‘The real and the virtual cannot be distinguished. Thus, reality has been made into hyper-reality.’ This ‘hyper-reality services us to escape, isn’t this what we want, ultimate escapism through the means of multiple channels. ‘The term ‘servomechanism’ was used by McLuhan to describe how one relates to technologies, that is, how one narcissistically serves extensions of oneself.’ I think is brilliant way to say we have all fallen in love with our technology embracing it as one of own. A world we have created in our image. It’s in our blood, to religiously spend time with the digital box, because it has become our friend, our best-friend. “If the works of the city is the remaking or translating of man into a more suitable form than his nomadic ancestors achieved, then might not our current translation of our entire lives into the spiritual form of information seem to make of the entire globe, and of the human family, a single consciousness?’ This extension is one we all look up to and aspire to be in one way or another

As history in religion, according to McLuhan, has similar traits to the world today. The evolution of the Bible leads the same trend as modern electronics. Starting with the idea, ’to preach the Gospel to every creature in every corner of the planet,’ is very similar to the idea of utopia where everybody can connect on the same non-threatening level. I feel the first question, which comes down to an amputation form the TV, was how can we control or influence people. This is effectively why the Bible was first produced, to teach basic social structure such found in the Ten Commandments. Religion is fundamentally a way of communicating in a way that will be listened to, using negative reinforcement to influence the masses whereas television positively reinforces the population with self-celebratory window of itself, reinsuring our trust that television is part of our body. The is bible is a persona of man, the digital box is an over-extended version of man because this is the way we want it to be. We have developed a ‘single consciousness,’ which is in vision of man, and it has grown from our child to our father figure. William, R has stated in ‘The Technology and the society’ that 'if television had not been invented, we would still be manipulated or mindlessly entertained, but in some other way and perhaps less powerfully.’ The digital box has over–extended this control to give more choice than possibly to not fulfill man’s desires. The major change in coming home sitting in front of the TV is that we all want choice to watch something different and new. We have extra channel which give us the power to watch TV a week in advance. This has affected the restrictions of time. Now I really have the choice to do something else, I feel I can make time because it’s always going to be on repeat. The exciting feeling to make that time jump, to alter your time with the rest of TV viewers, no more is everyone watching TV at the same time, which has reduced the value of information, as it seems to always be there but has acted as another distraction from real life.
The reassurance that everyone now desires because of yet another implosion in the TV world from the digital box has become a massive market. The digital box makes us feel better, comforts us with images of American idiots, to say don’t worry you and I can laugh together about what I’m showing you, both with the knowledge that were OK. While really you’re just mocking yourself, and pretending that you really can do a 60 minute make over on your house.
The amputations, the destruction of this medium to the real social world has spread through all that are connected by television The digital box allows the connection of a global market, It is an evolution of the market place which communicates. TV is the medium of record for a faith we might call Consumerism. The control that has encapsulated us into TV has no ‘reason, [but] with the help of a good advertising campaign would take care of itself.’ What you see on TV, within advertising, whatever it is you want it for no other reason than it was on TV. They gave you what you wanted in the advertising so maybe the product who give the same feeling. A product which I remember clearly to affect my own social awareness would have been the ipod. I had used other portable devices before but none carried such a stigma. Where you felt like you were using something different, a product that was designed for people, that made music easy. ‘The distinction between the product and its symbolic worth has imploded.’ Meaning the ipod was still just a simple mp3 player just it carries the weighty symbolic status. A stigma that could not been created without the extent of the campaign on the TV, because of this I was very socially aware of everybody who was using that device. More importantly is the stigma that the digital box carries itself. The intense craze from the added benefits of a digital has cause many a sleepless night, browsing its many channels. Not because anyone would want to do this, it was only because it was something that wouldn’t have been done before the over-extension of the digital box. The normal social condition under the television, is that the it takes a social position. That is to say that, what is real and happening in actuality, like some talking, is put on halt because the television is the predominant power. “Time“ has ceased, ‘space’ has vanished. We now live in global village… a simultaneous happening’ where everyone is influenced by the medium of TV. You can wait because what I’m watching is happening now. When can you talk the medium will always be there but I might not be. Where has reality gone? The digital box can take us places that we could never have reached before and that is the shared social idea that through the medium of the digital box we can discuss the world, but really just discussing the over extension that is the digital box, and not the world itself, just a small portion of it.
McLuhan, M. (1964) Understanding Media New York: Mentor
McLuhan, M. (1962) The Gutenburg Galaxy. London: Routledge & Kegab Paul
Mcluhan, M. and Q. Fiore(1967) The Medium is the Massage New York: Mentor
Mcluhan, M. and Q. Fiore(1968) War and Peace in the global Village. New York
William, R. (1990) Television: Technology and Cultural Form, Routledge
Wheeler, M. (1997) Politics and the Mass Media, Blackwell
Genosko, Gary. (1999) McLuhan and Baudrillard : Masters of Implosion. London, Routledge.

Federman, M. Creating a Culture of Innovation.…...

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