Hermetics for Mummies

THE LITERARY CRITICISM OF

MARSHALL MCLUHAN, 1969:

 

Modern technology is itself mainly a product of art.  It is explicitly the rival of the primitive artist.

For it has been the prime characteristic of science and philosophy since Newton and Kant, that they seek to control the world rather than to understand it.  We can, they say, control by magical formula what necessarily eludes our understanding or comprehension.  The artist was always a magician in this sense.  But the civilized artist has differed from the primitive artist in seeking to arrest the flux of existence in order that the mind may be united with that which is permanent in existence.  Whereas the modern artist has used his factive or creative intelligence to manipulate matter and experience into a pattern which could arrest the mind in the presence of a particular aspect of existence, the modern scientist has sought to merge the functions of the primitive and civilized magicians.  He has developed formulas for the control of the material world and then applied these to the control of the human mind.  He invades the human mind and society with the patterned information.  That is the key to the nature of the new “mass media.”

 

 

“Neferti is moving through the alleys of a rural slum on the outskirts of Memphis.  Dead eyes broken by poverty, disease and hunger follow his passage.  People turn from him and the women cover their faces, for he is a Scribe, an elite class that is feared and hated.”

 

Burroughs, THE WESTERN LANDS

 

 

 

One thought on “Hermetics for Mummies

  1. THIS IS A TEST OF THE EMERGING COMMENTS SYSTEM – IF THIS WAS TO BE A REAL EARNEST COMMENT, YOU WOULD BE NOTIFIED.

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