8/29/11

Marshall McLuhan Allatonceness

allatonceness
Allatonceness
Ours is a brand-new world of allatonceness. "Time"
has ceased, "space" has vanished. We now live in
a global village...a simultaneous happening. We

are back in acoustic space. We have begun again
to structure the primordial feeling, the tribal emo-
tions from which a few centuries of literacy
divorced us.

We have had to shift our stress of attention from
action to reaction. We must now know in advance
the consequences of any policy or action, since
the results are experienced without delay. Because
of electric speed, we can no longer wait and see.
George Washington once remarked, "We haven't
heard from Benj. Franklin in Paris this year. We
should write him a letter."

At the high speeds of electric communication,
purely visual means of apprehending the world are
no longer possible; they are just too slow to be
relevant or effective.

Unhappily, we confront this new situation with an
enormous backlog of outdated mental and psycho-
logical responses. We have been left d-a-n-
g-l-i-n-g. Our most impressive words and thoughts
betray us—they refer us only to the past, not to
the present.

Electric circuitry profoundly involves men with one
another. Information pours upon us, instantane-
ously and continuously. As soon as information is
acquired, it is very rapidly replaced by still newer
information. Our electrically-configured world has
forced us to move from the habit of data classifica-
tion to the mode of pattern recognition. We can no
longer build serially, block-by-block, step-by-step,
because instant communication insures that all
factors of the environment and of experience co-
exist in a state of active interplay.

Page 36