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Mcluhan Essay, Research Paper

While many McLuhanites consider the concept of the Global Village to be prescient, especially in terms of “predicting” the Internet, it is ludicrous to thus “Nostradamus-ize” McLuhan, leaving us to interpret each phrase in terms of some event or invention, nodding sagely at his brilliance each time we make a connection. Certainly, there are times McLuhan is quite accurate about the wave of the technological future – but there are many others where he clearly misfires.

It would be easy to link McLuhan’s predictions to the motto of Gibson’s cyberpunk followers, “Information wants to be free.” After all, it was McLuhan, 28 years earlier, who wrote, “As automation takes hold, it becomes obvious that information is the crucial commodity, and that solid products are merely incidental to information movement.”

Yet, we must be careful not to give McLuhan too much credit as a visionary and avoid the greatest of hindsight-driven fallacies, post hoc propter ergo hoc. Thus, if we insist that McLuhan’s 1964 phraseled to Gibson’s own assertion — though both authors are (arguably) visionaries, and perhaps share the same approach to creating visions — we should not necessarily conclude they share the same vision.

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