Transformative Education as Protection from Media Fallout
"People are generally unaware of the transforming power of the intermediate world of symbols - the media. Political scientists have been quite unaware of the effects of media anywhere at any time, simply because nobody has been willing to study the personal and social effects of media apart from their 'content'." (Marshall Mcluhan. Media As Extensions of Man. page 323)
Vulnerability to propaganda.... adult immaturity
"Holistic educators seek to promote responsible education based on the fundamental unity of the universe... the connection between this unity and the individual's inner or higher self, cultivation of intuition and insight through contemplation and meditation in order to 'see' the unity... universal realization of the unity of the universe leads to social action which would counter injustice and human suffering." (Miller)
"In the Western civilizations, there is little awareness of the importance of a pervasive visual culture of literacy and the psychological conditioning it entails as a groundwork for market systems of supply and demand with uniformity of commodities and fixed-price systems. Literate man does not question the logic of lineality in print. The so-called tribal mentality can very easily spot the gaps in literate mentality which tends to have the the special illusion that it is highly aware and individualistic." (Marshall Mcluhan. Media As Extensions of Man.)
Medium is the massage (message) The power of communication media - television, radio and film - is based on their ability to affect the thought process.... Marshall McLuhan's famous phrase 'the medium is the massage' - from the Arabic 'massa' meaning 'to touch'. Owners of media know that they influence peoples' thinking. The effect of the media depends more on the nature of the medium or 'massage' than on its content or 'message'. The power of the media lies in their ability to extend and amplify the functions of the senses and the central nervous system. The individual lacking in critical awareness fails to inspect media content directly, producing a self-protective numbing of the consciousness i.e. 'media fallout'.
The extent of media fallout depends on the nature of the medium. Communication media vary with respect to their capacity to intensify the visual aspect of speech - they vary in their 'intensity'. The degree of intensity determines the extent to which the audience is involved in the content. The less the visual aspect of speech is intensified, the more the audience is involved in the content and consequently the more it participates... The lower the intensity, the higher the audience involvement.
Radio is a medium which has low intensity and high audience involvement. The visual aspect of speech is not intensified and as a result the audience becomes deeply involved and tends to participate in the content. Radio is described as a 'hot' medium. With hot communication media, people are more likely to accept mechanical solutions to their social problems. It was easy for Hitler to persuade people to accept the mechanical solutions to Germany's social problems because the radio was the medium which was used to convey the content of his speeches. The power of the radio medium was in its low intensity and its high audience involvement and participation.
Electric technology of television is an extension of the central nervous system. In extending the central nervous system, electric technology is organic and non-mechanical because it offers a means of getting in touch with every facet of being at once. As in brain functioning, the speed of electric commmunication creates a constant and instantaneous totality of interacting events. The electric media foster uniqueness, social integration, social diversity, and social interaction. People are involved with one another... become compelled to participate and react to the world as a whole. As an electric medium, television extends the central nervous system.
Television is a communication which intensifies the visual aspect of speech and can be described as a medium of 'high intensity'. The audience becomes less involved with the content and audience participation is low. The audience is less likely to become deeply involved with the content or 'message' making the television a 'cool' medium. With the cool medium of television, people are not likely to participate in mechanical solutions to their social problems. Furthermore, as people adapt to the electric age of instant information, they become less interested in fragmented specialization and depend more on their knowledge and insight into the creative processes of life and society. In assuming the role of information gathering, they work in equilibrium with their environment and so they tend to become more involved with the changes taking place.
Electric technology of computers...
The most powerful and aggressive of the media combines the electric technology of instantaneous communication with the old mechanical print technology - the film medium. Film, like the alphabet and the printed word, is a medium of communication which has a 'high level of literacy'. People who accept the unquestioned logic of lineality in print accept the rationality of the sequence of photos as the film unwinds from the reel during its projection onto the screen. The communications media with their capacity for shared mutual dialogue provide the means for cultural transformation to take place.
Money is a medium of communication and an extension of human motivation. Money is a medium of communication - a translator, a bridge, a social metaphor... and like language, 'money talks'. Money extends and intensifies the human motives for behaviour or 'human needs'. Money is an extension of 'intrinsic motivation'. As an extension of human motivation money is a powerful social medium which creates its own social values. The function of money as a medium of communication began in non-tribal and non-literate cultures and societies and evolved with the evolution of agricultural communities... originated in the form of commodities and staples such as cotton, fur or blankets. The staples and commodities themselves were the media of communication.
Notion of money as representative of human work and the specialist technology of money intensifies its function of communication For the hunter and the fisherman of tribal society, work is an integral part of life and does not require the medium of money. Agricultural societies evolved with division of labor and specialization of work. It was the agricultural community living which produced the notion of money as representative of human work and this eventually led to the meaning of 'work' in the sense of 'work for money'.
Literacy as writing helped to establish the concept of money as 'representative money' in the form of currencies and paper money. In its representative form money became an extension of human labor and skill... became the medium of communication which translated one kind of work into another... came to represent the storehouse of communally achieved work, skill and experience. The money itself became the staple and the resource with the power to specialize and rechannel human energies. Like writing or 'literacy', money became a specialist technology which intensified the visual aspect of speech. As a medium of technology, money had the effect of separating 'work' from other social functions. With the depreciation of human moral values the person's existence came to be measured in terms of their ability to make money.
Implications for education: development of critica faculties... 'critical practice': Cultural transformation depends on education... education of the inner life... education for complete personality development and for development of critical consciousness and the critical faculties... 'critical practice'. Development of the critical faculties and is a function of personality integration. Complete integration of the personality is characteristic of the self-actualized individual and the mature mind. Complete personality integration results in complete cognition and full awareness and the capacity to defend oneself from the shock of media fallout. Incomplete integration of the personality results in incomplete cognition and limited awareness and the incapacity to defend oneself from the shock of media fallout. Education for the inner life and personality integration is 'transformative education'. Transformative education is based on the 'transformation worldview' - the view of the universe as an interconnected whole.
The transformation worldview is rooted in the 'perennial philosophy' which focuses on the interconnectedness of the universe... ecology and subatomic or 'quantum physics' have shown that at the heart of nature is the interconnected web. If one part of the whole is affected, there are changes in the whole system. An education framed in the transformation worldview is 'transformative education'. Transformative education fosters the development of the personality to maturity... fosters the development of the critical capacities for critical consciousness i.e. the ability to decode reality structures i.e. to unveil the hidden codes which explain the underlying paradigm that frames the social reality and which are embedded in everyday experience. Transformative education is education for the critical inspection of media content regardless of the nature of the medium itself. As education for awareness and for self-defense against the shock of media fallout, transformative education is responsible education. The cultivation of the individual's critical consciousness encourages their active participatation in the reconstruction of their own social reality.
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Reference: Marshall Mcluhan Media As Extensions of Man
Like the alphabet and the printed word, "the movie is an aggressive and imperial form that explodes outward into other cultures." (Mcluhan, M. Extensions 295)
"Our new electric technology is organic and non-mechanical in tendency because it extends, not our eyes, but our central nervous system." (McLuhan Media: The Extensions of Man. 147)
Television and the electric media can be thought of as an extensions of the central nervous system, including the brain. "Our new electric technology is organic and non-mechanical in tendency because it extends, not our eyes, but our central nervous system." ( page 147)
Film, like the press, radio and televison is a collective art form dependent on teams of skilled people working in collaboration. Like the alphabet and the printed word, "the movie is an aggressive and imperial form that explodes outward into other cultures." (Marshall Mcluhan Media As Extensions of Man 295)
Mcluhan's famous phrase "The medium is the massage" is also the title of a book. The word 'massage' is derived from the Arabic 'massa' meaning to touch. The medium is the 'massage' refers to the power of the medium of communication in affecting the thought process. The power of the medium depends more on the nature of the medium than on the content or 'message'. "Political scientists have been quite unaware of the effects of media anywhere at any time, simply because nobody has been willing to study the personal and social effects of media apart from their 'content'." (Marshall Mcluhan Media As Extensions of Man page 323)