Reflection of Marshall McLuhan (Page92-95)

In these paragraphs, the author mainly discusses the distinctions between professionalism and amateurism, in terms of how they related with our new information media. The author uses the example of Michael Faraday, who discovered the induction of electricity. According to McLuhan, professionalism is environmental which ‘merges the individual into patterns of total environment’ while amateurism is anti-environmental, ‘seeking the development of the total awareness of the individual and the critical awareness the groundrules of society’. That is, professionalism tends to be accepted by the mass response and groundrules: it is unchangeable, remaining itself in the overall environment. Amateurism is the opposite because it contains ‘fantastic intuition and independence or originality of mind’ and normally, these are exactly what education is lack of. It is really interesting that the author is able to distinguish professionalism and amateurism from a different perspective, different from what people usually think about. In this society, people tend to perceive professionalism as an authority that is higher-standard and unquestionable, but McLuhan pointed out the severe lack of intuition, creation and independence of professionalism and this makes amateurism unique and special. Professionalism is not always the ‘best’. Instead, amateurism sometimes serves as a more effective stimulation of human intelligence. On page 94-95, McLuhan demonstrates the reason hiding behind all these social and cultural phenomenon—the clash between two great technologies. We are witnessing and experiencing a rapid clash of the ‘old’ and the ‘new’. We must force ourselves to fit into this new information media society from the old and traditional one.

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One response »

  1. palomapineda19 says:

    You brought up a lot of interesting points here, and McLuhan does touch on a central concept between the contrast and distinction between old and new, primitive and modern, and professionalism and amateurism. One of the pages that particularly stuck out to me was his description of the global village, and how much digital technologies are altering our relationships between what was old and what is new.

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