Buckminster Fuller and Marshall McLuhan met for the first time after boarding the New Hellas in Athens for an eight-day boat trip around the Greek Islands. The two gurus of the electronic age had been invited on the trip, along with thirty-two other leading intellectuals from fourteen countries, by Constantinos Doxiadis, a Greek architect and urban planner. The idea was to have a “symposion,” a radical mixing of intellectual activity and sensual pleasure as the boat traveled from island to island. Each morning, the group would have informal but intense discussions onboard about “the evolution of human settlements.” In the afternoon and evening, they would leave the boat to go swimming, visit famous historic sites, eat in restaurants, see performances, go dancing, and shop. High-level theoretical discourse was well lubricated with retsina and ouzo.
In the cryptic note at the top right (on p. 2), McLuhan writes to Harley Parker, with whom he later co-authored Through the Vanishing Point: Space in Poetry and Painting (1968) and Counterblast (1969). Parker also appears with McLuhan in the 28 min 1969 film Picnic in Space, directed by Bruce Bacon.
This text reflects McLuhan’s then-coalescing thought as it relates to both education and to multiple media forms; and the text serves as relatively direct and clearly-written precursor for the 1964 Understanding Media.
2011 marks the centenary of Canadian icon Marshall McLuhan’s birth and it’s being celebrated around the world. Especially I’d like to share two go-to sites for all things McLuhan this year.
Dr. Alex Kuskis’s McLuhan Galaxy
and Marshall McLuhan Speaks with a great collection of video clips.
If, as Walter Ong suggests, technologies of communication and information affect noetic economies (structures of thought); and if noetic economies have to do with what it means to be human; it seems important to consider how the spoken and the mediated word and image contribute to the human soul – or to the sacred. How have technologies and the larger media world altered our experiences of the sacred?