My assigned McLuhan probe was to come up with a new metaphor for the time when we, allegedly, are past the writing stage in the history of the species.

I objected to the post-writing stage, since “writing,” like most anything is relative. On the “Paper or Screen” panel, the observations were brought up

  • that the “younger generations” are texting all the time–but is that “writing,” or a travesty–and what does the twitt(er)ing format do for us?!
  • that (according to a publisher panelist) long-form writing is what is becoming obsolete, which she takes to mean that the young are not learning how to develop, or follow, argumentation–which ultimately is making them unable to make citizen decisions, or take action, worthy of the name.

I cannot be the judge of the above, since it is not impossible that new forms of brain-mind processing are emerging, and accordingly, matching new forms of the way they display/are perceived are also developing.

My deepest current interest, as a student of philosophy of education–communication technologies–human fulfillment, is Human Relatedness to Self, Other, All of Existence. I ask, What is there, of our human potential, that is important to preserve, foster, unplug and worth carrying forward into the future–over and beyond whatever technologies we may be inflicting upon ourselves.

The shift in consciousness that has never stopped, so there is no question of “beginning,” may already be taking the desired eco-consonant direction, if, eg. Rifkin’s 700-plus pages The Empathic Civilization is on the right track. In any case, the notion of ecology in the sense of ubiquitous inter-relatedness, or systems thinking in the same discursive mode, have been circulating in academic and intellectual spaces for several decades at least. As far as the public, e.g. global warming (at least judging by local media discourses) may be contributing to an approximation of the above understanding of co-evolution and inter-relatedness–which CANNOT be suppressed/circumvented, but can be influenced by humans ecologically felicitously or not.

The etymology of Ecosonance covers the concept of all-pervasive ecology. Eco- –I’d say, instructively–comes from the Greek word for “house/home,” thus potentially projecting a symbolization of where you belong, where you come from and go back to for protection and sustenance, physical and spiritual. Combined with that is the  son root, shared by re-sonance, dis-sonance, con-sonance, a-sonance,  evoking “sound” and thus the more general concept of vibration. Vibration has by now become the closest term available to describe what seems to be “that on which” existence is predicated–physical, but (more and more into the mainstream of science) also what is traditionally thought of as mental-equals-nonmaterial, hence nonphysical.

Therefore, to the extent that awareness of the definitive role of the ecology of vibration is already permeating the social-epistemic imaginary (Lorraine Code-cum-Cornelius Castoriadis), and influencing action, one may issue a “diagnosis” of an Ecosonic Turn. That, obviously, would be the case, irrespective of how consciously or unconsciously the awareness augmentation may be taking place in each concrete case, say an occurrence or an individual.

ECOSONANCE would be the metaphor for the time when the social imaginary, certainly that of the “developed West,” is increasingly imbibed with the consequences of quantum mechanics, what Einstein called “its philosophy, not its math,” also general ecological awareness, also globalization (with its pluses and minuses), also a systems view of the world (benevolent per Ervin Laszlo’s book of the same name, hegemonic per Luhmann’s systems theory).

Axiomatic Relatedness can kill just as it can build: resonance destroys just as it enhances, dissonance intrigues just as it wrecks one’s nerves, etc., depending on degree and mode. This would appear to be calling on us–to the extent that conscious, rational decision plays a role–to come to understand and to channel our thoughts and actions in such a way as to be a benevolent rather than a destructive influence on human Selves, Others, All remaining Biotics and Abiotics.

A final thought would be to invite the reader to consider:

1. The legacy of McLuhan’s idea of media ecology, whereby media/technologies should be designed and used in a way that there would be no wasteful or straightforwardly harmful redundancies of function and usage. As I can hardly think of ANYthing that is not a technology and/or a medium, the extensions of Media Ecology Theory, under development since Neil Postman’s work, scale up to the order of all-encompassing Ecosonance.

2. Consider also the legacy of the ancient thought of the East, of Aboriginal and African cosmologies… The non-dichotomous worldview available from those rich sources is to a large extent what Ecosonance stands for.

As an illustration, a good reference to check out is Daniel Vokey’s chapter on Mahayana Buddhism in his 2001 book Moral Discourse in a Pluralistic World. If my synthesis is correct, incorporating Mahayana principles, he argues that there is a core of universality to human ethics and morality. However, it cannot be expressed in words, a.k.a. is non-verbal/non-linguistic, thus cannot be consciously rationalized, even if in all practical evidence it “is there.”

Re The Book of Probes (2003) Eric McLuhan (Author), David Carson (Author), Marshall McLuhan (Author), William Kuhns (Author). Gingko Press, currently the official publisher of McLuhan’s works.

I like the Amazon “Product Description,” so giving it below in full:

    Until now, no book has explored the full expanse of Marshall McLuhan’s thinking. Here we have assembled alongside his most prescient aphorisms excerpts from the full range of his astounding life’s work. One revolutionary book distills the wisdom and wit of the man who explained to us the “the medium is the message” and that we are “now living in a global village”, that “privacy invasion is now our most important knowledge industry” and that “obsolescence is the moment of superabundance”.
    Cover to cover, Anthology is not only one hundred percent McLuhan’s own words, these are McLuhan’s finest words. McLuhan called these bold perceptions probes and today they gleam like gems embedded everywhere in his life’s output – in his books, in more than 200 speeches, in his classes (especially the Monday Night Seminars), and most of all in the nearly 700 shorter writings that he published between 1945 and 1980. In recent years, his son Eric McLuhan and William Kuhns have combed through all these sources to compile and edit what has become Anthology – The Book of Probes.
    The collection is so fresh that most probes will be new to even the most avid readers of McLuhan, and opens a new portal to McLuhan’s mind, one that promises to change the ways in which we recognize and interpret McLuhan in the future. Readers will marvel at how the consistency, the clarity of concept, and the abundant wealth of observations, some made twenty or thirty years apart, dovetail to form a whole.
    Art Director and Designer David Carson presents McLuhan’s images with new insight, and has built a work of art that is reminiscent of those lasting works permanently commissioned and interpreted by new generations.