“‘Rational’, of course, has for the West long meant ‘uniform and continuous and sequential.’ In other words, we have confused reason with literacy, and rationalism with a single technology. Thus in the electric age man seems to the conventional West to become irrational.”
– Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media
He was talking about the potential and potential effects of electricity as a means for delivering media. He was also able to fathom what “digital” would mean…in 1964.
He was talking about people’s inability to see that content being delivered and used in a different way isn’t bad or wrong or making people more or less stupid (he also references the irrelvancy of IQ tests as the ways and means of media evolve and change).
He was talking about the penchant for linear thinking perhaps becoming antiquated in a “pure information” society – if all things or most things are available at all times then processing things can’t be assumed to be A then B then C.
He wrote this in 1964. Not 1984 or even 1994 or 2004. Dudes, what a visionary.