McLuhan is claiming that Gutenberg technology was the reason of human psyche fragmentation, primitivism and social conformism. I am trying to find links between Gutenberg technology and the phenomenon of fragmentation and see none. Could anyone explain how these two are connected?
What seems to me is that McLuhan mixes up specifically western people development, their cultural evolution with how Gutenberg technology affects people and these two seem completely disconnected for me. My experience tells me the opposite: well-read people tend to be more complex vs people who don’t read books (all other parameters being as equal as possible).
For me his reaction seems more like emotional counter reaction against educated peoples’ views who saw degradation of human being with the coming new TV, radio technologies (which seems more correct way of viewing the effect of these technologies) and nothing more than that. I get such an impression because I don’t get the links between the two phenomena. Could anyone elaborate on that?
Also asked here (some comments below linguistics post elaborate a bit more on the question):
Another his idea: Gutenberg technology and specifically phonetic alphabet leads to point of view (and linear thinking) vs mosaic integrative view that is brought in by electric technology.
What it seems to me is that he is considering here as a Gutenberg human a poorly educated individual whereas enough educated ones tend to have the opposite mosaic world view and without any resort whatsoever to TV technology.
The latter actually throws back to narrow-minded ‘point of view’ approach that is clearly demonstrated by today’s inability of regular people to build the bridges between, say, conservatism ideas and democratic ones leading to conflicts and tensions. At the very least these two: human fragmentation, negative things about the western people that McLuhan saw and Gutenberg technology effects seem to me either a rather disconnected phenomena or related in very intricate ways far from as simplistic as he describes it.
Still, I admit I can be totally wrong just out of misunderstanding or not seeing what he actually means. He is giving very definite answers and strong claims, so I suppose he has foundations for that.
Book of the McLuhan where he claims that: