Everybody enjoys a good paradox. They exercise our brains, provide challenging philosophical discussion, and serve as a backup weapon in the war against artificial intelligence. When Marshall McLuhan wrote “The medium is the message” he had the whole world of communications scratching its head. Surely the messenger cannot also be the message? Well, according to Leonidas, the medium through which we communicate our ideas is equally, if not more important, than the ideas themselves.
McLuhan argued that anything we consider an extension of ourselves is both a medium through which we communicate as well as an idea we are communicating. A great example of this is the rising popularity of merchandise, such as coffee mugs and t-shirts, which bear a sarcastic phrase or a well-known text abbreviation, like “wtf.”
What McLuhan might have been trying to get across in his book that was supposed to be entitled “The Medium Is The Message” is that how we express ourselves is more important than what we want to say. Our sense of fashion, the colour we paint our house, how our cutlery is designed, can all send a stronger message about who we are as people than what we as individuals say. Alternatively, the messages in our media could be a preemption of a phenomenon known as the Ganzfeld effect, namely, our brain’s programming to find patterns within our surroundings, even when there is no information for our brains to process. Could it be that using a medium as a message is simply our base instinct to create and recognise patterns urging us to dig deeper and deeper into our constructed society?