Food for thought: Marshall McLuhan interview, Playboy March 1969

From “The Playboy Interview: Marshall McLuhan”, Playboy Magazine, March 1969. © Playboy

PLAYBOY: To borrow Henry Gibson’s oft-repeated one-line poem on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In — “Marshall McLuhan, what are you doin’?”

McLUHAN: Sometimes I wonder. I’m making
explorations. I don’t know where they’re going to take me. My work is
designed for the pragmatic purpose of trying to understand our
technological environment and its psychic and social consequences. But
my books constitute the process rather than the completed product of
discovery; my purpose is to employ facts as tentative probes, as means
of insight, of pattern recognition, rather than to use them in the
traditional and sterile sense of classified data, categories,
containers. I want to map new terrain rather than chart old landmarks.

But I’ve never presented such explorations as revealed truth. As an
investigator, I have no fixed point of view, no commitment to any
theory — my own or anyone else’s. As a matter of fact, I’m completely
ready to junk any statement I’ve ever made about any subject if events
don’t bear me out, or if I discover it isn’t contributing to an
understanding of the problem. The better part of my work on media is
actually somewhat like a safe-cracker’s. I don’t know what’s inside;
maybe it’s nothing. I just sit down and start to work. I grope, I
listen, I test, I accept and discard; I try out different sequences —
until the tumblers fall and the doors spring open.

Via NextNature, read full interview

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