The Medium is The Massage
Modern communication systems are used for cultural community building. Cultural and subcultural divides are manufactured and emphasized in order to keep us all shepherded into more easily managed divided and socially differentiated and sorted communities. Media and all sorts of diverse manufactured products are the very artifacts used to divide and conquer humanity into the easily managed human resource of today. Pop music categories, sports teams and celebrity fan clubs are great examples of this kind of religious practice of commercial idolatry.
The Perpetual Age of Anxiety: Artists Set Traps For Your Attention
"The title is a play on McLuhan's oft-quoted saying "The medium is the message". The book was initiated by Quentin Fiore. McLuhan adopted the term "massage" to denote the effect each medium has on the human sensorium, taking inventory of the "effects" of numerous media in terms of how they "massage" the sensorium."
"Marshall McLuhan argues that technologies — from clothing to the wheel to the book, and beyond — are the messages themselves, not the content of the communication. In essence, The Medium is the Massage is a graphical and creative representation of his "medium is the message" thesis seen in Understanding Media.
By playing on words and utilizing the term "massage," McLuhan is suggesting that modern audiences have found current media to be soothing, enjoyable, and relaxing; however, the pleasure we find in new media is deceiving, as the changes between society and technology are incongruent and are perpetuating an Age of Anxiety.
All media work us over completely. They are so pervasive in their personal, political, economic, aesthetic, psychological, moral, ethical, and social consequences that they leave no part of us untouched, unaffected, unaltered. (p. 26)
The Medium is the Massage demonstrates how modern media are extensions of human senses; they ground us in physicality, but expand our ability to perceive our world to an extent that would be impossible without the media. These extensions of perception contribute to McLuhan’s theory of the Global Village, which would bring humanity full circle to an industrial analogue of tribal mentality.
Finally, McLuhan described key points of change in how people have viewed the world and how those views have been affected and altered by the adoption of new media. "The technique of invention was the discovery of the nineteenth [century]", brought on by the adoption of fixed points of view and perspective by typography, while "[t]he technique of the suspended judgment is the discovery of the twentieth century", brought on by the bard abilities of radio, movies and television.
Fiore, at the time a prominent graphic designer and communications consultant, set about composing the visual illustration of these effects which were compiled by Jerome Agel. Near the beginning of the book, Fiore adopted a pattern in which an image demonstrating a media effect was presented with a textual synopsis on the facing page. The reader experiences a repeated shifting of analytic registers—from "reading" typographic print to "scanning" photographic facsimiles—reinforcing McLuhan's overarching argument in this book: namely, that each medium produces a different "massage" or "effect" on the human sensorium."