8/4/11

Marshall McLuhan In Acoustic Space

Printing,  a ditto device

Until writing was invented, man lived in acoustic
space: boundless, directionless, horizonless, in the
dark of the mind, in the world of emotion, by
primordial intuition, by terror. Speech is a social
chart of this bog.

The goose quill put an end to talk. It abolished
mystery; it gave architecture and towns; it brought
roads and armies, bureaucracy. It was the basic
metaphor with which the cycle of civilization be-
gan, the step from the dark into the light of the
mind. The hand that filled the parchment page
built a city.

Whence did the wond'rous mystic art arise,
Of painting SPEECH, and speaking to the eyes?
That we by tracing magic lines are taught,
How to embody, and to colour THOUGHT?