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Looking at how scientists like Andrew Weaver, James Hansen, Stephen Schneider (and, more recently featured on ES, Mike Hulme) have ventured on to the public scene (with their general audience books) and have also had to “dig into” domains other than what their academic position titles denote, one finds reason to argue that these are all examples of deconstructing

1) disciplinarity (e.g., climate scientists going into economics, energy production), and
2) the idea of science, and academic scholarship in general, as a social-political recluse.

Are the above Western incarnations of the Confucian scholar-official concept, where those who have knowledge also have the social obligation to participate in the management of the state?

More interestingly, is the epistemological fluidity parallel to and independent of, or even licensed by the contemporaneous ubiquity of communication technologies?

Even more curiously, are these epistemological flows simultaneously a symptom of and a conduit for the flattening of hierarchical societal structures, which have been the norm for most of recorded history?

Ultimately, what part of the processes at work is expressible/perceivable through overt discourse? And what part belongs to a kind of “collective non-conscious” channeling human history, theorized more or less indirectly through concepts like Aristotle’s–Bourdieu’s “habitus”, Cornelius Castoriadis’s “imaginary”, and I’d tag likewise what underlies the Peircean a priori (what-feels-right) method of attaining to belief/resolving doubt?

previous ES post on McLuhan: Does the McLuhan itch persist at 99?

A York University event: Douglas Copeland and B. W. Powe in conversation about everything McLuhan, and in particular, his 2009 biography by Copeland (which is quite a read to experience, playing with layout, text, genres…, in Copeland’s suitably customized signature style; but more importantly, unfolding an ecosonically “related” view of the McLuhan bio scene)

What gave this blog its title is a quote from the book Powe highlighted–it really presents (to my knowledge & mind) the most generous and (hopefully) rewarding interpretation of what McLuhan’s message and its medium were/are about.

This is how the YorkU community gives campus directions when you ask!!!
[hand of Steve, hand-drawn map by same; shaky hand taking photo mine–was in a rush, and only made it on time for the beginning because sb got snow-bound]

The book titled (frugally or/but right on, depending on the p.o.v.) Marshall McLuhan, in the appropriately named Series “Extraordinary Canadians”, is to be published by Atlas & Company in March 2011 in the US as “Marshall McLuhan: You Know Nothing of my Work!”

The American title uses part of the lines prof McLuhan-as-himself utters in Woody Allen’s movie Annie Hall. But IMHO he also says something much more mcluhan: “you mean my whole fallacy’s wrong? …”

youtube credit: drkatzjr27 | July 29, 2009

I say “utters” because he comes across somewhat un-McLuhan compared to so many recordings of him: see&hear for yourselves–re hot & cool media; ecological responsibility for effects of technology; prophecies, etc.–from the site built with the participation of one of his daughters, Stephanie McLuhan (credit for the reference: McLuhan Legacy Network).

The pleasure is both the e-publishers’ and the viewers’, I’d expect; one can see-hear what they mean by saying that McLuhan took after his “piece of works” actress-elocutionist mother, Elsie Naomi McLuhan (née Hall).


January 2011


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