In the course of improving the means of communication, thanks to the huge speeds generated by electricity, time and space began to be abolished, which allowed a person, in addition to his personal issues, to take part in decisions and global problems. To describe the current communication and later cultural situation, the Canadian philosopher M. McLuhan introduces the concept of the “global village”, which he extensively describes in his books The Gutenberg Galaxy (1962) and Understanding the Media (1964). The researcher gives a picture of how, through electronic means of communication, the entire planet is “shrinking” to the size of a village, and now it has become possible to instantly transfer information to anywhere in the world.
In one "village"
The concept of "global village", which appeared in scientific circles in the middle of the twentieth century, thanks to the Canadian figure of electronic culture Herbert Marshall McLuhan, is used mainly metaphorically, describing the World Information Network. In this network, the distances between people cease to have any meaning for communication, time and space seem toare erased, and at the same time, cultures, traditions, worldviews and values are converging. Due to the high speed of information exchange, a person has an advantage: he can quickly respond to what is happening in the world, receive and distribute information.
McLuhan assumed that modern communications would force people to be drawn into each other's affairs and problems as if they were their own. Contacting each other through electronic communication channels, they begin to interact in such a way as if they are very close, as if they live in the same village. This form of communication develops a different sociological structure within the existing context of culture.
Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980) is considered one of the brightest personalities of the intellectual and scientific community of Canada and the United States of the 60s and 70s, who was recognized for her study of the influence of electrical and electronic forms of communication on modern man and society.
In the early stages of his career, McLuhan was a "traditional" literary critic who criticized the modern world, accusing him of insufficient attention to classical literature. From the 50s, leaving critical pathos, he began to study communication systems in their own terms. Since the release of Gutenberg Galaxy and Understanding Media, McLuhan's name has gained popularity not only in academia but beyond.
The author of sensational books for a long time did not leave the pages of periodicals and TV screens,shocking the audience with his witty sayings. The media theorist also managed to please the younger generation, who perceived him as an outstanding hip professor who formulated their vision of the world. It is worth noting that the design of McLuhan's books was very different from the dry scientific works of the time, thanks to the use of graphic language, photography and peculiar text.
M. McLuhan's concept
In his studies, McLuhan argued that in the 20th century culture reached a milestone of no less importance than in the Renaissance. All significant steps in the history of mankind, in his opinion, are associated with innovations in technical means of communication.
- The development of any culture is influenced by the means of communication common in it: speech, writing, printed word, transport, telecommunications, computer systems and others.
- A certain form of communication forms a whole social world - a galaxy.
- Communication tools are not just conductors of information, but apart from it they are means of structuring reality.
- The formation of new forms of communication, communication and information will form a new picture of the world, a style of thinking and other principles of social organization.
- A person's ability to perceive makes it possible to distinguish between audio (verbal) and video (visual) communications.
- In the history of human development, the following milestones are distinguished: the era of oral speech, millennia of phonetic writing, time"Gutenberg galaxy" and modern electronic civilization.
One of the most fundamentally important works of the Canadian researcher M. McLuhan is the "Gutenberg Galaxy". The book was a significant event in the development of communication theory. According to the author, the appearance of the quill pen became the fuse for the "explosion of technology", and its epicenter falls on the invention of the manual printing press by I. Gutenberg. Since that time, the fragmentation of society and the alienation of the individual began to occur: the printed word made it possible for individual knowledge of the world, outside the collective consciousness of society.
In his book, McLuhan has collected quite interesting material, drawing the reader's attention to the development of means of communication from ancient culture to the age of television. He argued that advances in the field of electromagnetism have re-created the "field" in all areas of human life, thanks to which humanity now exists within the framework of the "global village".
From galaxy to village
Thinking about the communicative space, M. McLuhan repeatedly used the exact sciences. Following the example of the architect Z. Gideon, who considered the space in art from the position of the latest achievements in electromechanics, he analyzes the communicative space in comparison with the development of scientific thought in physics. Thus, the world of print culture, masquerading as the Gutenberg galaxy, for the Canadianresearcher has a homogeneous nature of the Newtonian space. And Einstein's (1905–1906) concept of a single space and time is associated with a new revolution in the mass media: the advent of the telephone, telegraph, and then electronic media.
The discoveries that took place, according to McLuhan, caused the collapse of the "Gutenberg galaxy" and the emergence of a voluminous communicative space capable of shrinking into a point at any moment. The scientist wrote about a new world where time and distance cease to matter, and everything happens instantly, as if we live in a "global village".
Discussions on the rubble
In the age of the Internet and information technology, McLuhan's views have taken on new meaning. The concept of the world as a “global village” has become relevant to the time: now it is impossible to hide anything, and everyone is responsible for everything. The virtual environment is compared with the rural one, where everything is discussed on the rubble. Social networks, chats, blogs, forums, and so on serve as such rubbles. The subject of discussion is any news brought to the attention of everyone, regardless of how genuine it is. In this environment, each person can be in the center of attention and become the object of discussion. Internet users are confident that they have the right to discuss everything and everyone, as well as the truthfulness and fairness of their views.
The features of modern Internet society are more and more similar to the life of people in the village: elders, eminent personalities, ordinary people and hermits. And what's the mostimportantly, in this village a person often loses his true face, he becomes a figure, which is given missing elements and gets rid of unnecessary ones. Behind educated masks, life is increasingly turning into a theater in which you constantly need to play different roles.
The Age of Information Civilization
The Canadian theorist, while openly expressing his position towards the "global village", does not speak favorably of it, but, as it were, notices the existing state of affairs. If the "visual person" was moving towards goals, wanting to implement his serious ideas, then dialogue and immediate involvement is important for the "virtual person".
McLuhan's Global Village has the following features:
- synthesis of various forms and means of communication;
- increasing lines of interaction;
- globalness of information and communication processes.
The characteristic of the information civilization, formulated by the researcher, corresponds to the existing reality much more than could be expected in the 60s. The revolution of communication media has led to an unprecedented merging of various human cultures in the global information space, where their interaction has become a constant and inseparable process.
Foreseeing the future
M. McLuhan's concept of shrinking the world to a "village" size under the pressure of information spreading at lightning speed to any point on the planet was mostlyforesight, because he himself did not live to see the release of the first personal computer. In the age of telephone, radio and television, the trend towards the elimination of borders (state, cultural and religious), the elimination of language barriers and the abolition of distances between continents was only barely emerging, but it became a reality with the advent of the Internet.
Network technologies have introduced a sense of narrowing space and instantaneity into the sphere of communication, provided universal access to information and the ability to communicate with a huge number of people. The voiced thesis of the "global village" by M. McLuhan as a universal communication platform became in fact a prophecy about cyberspace and prepared people for new technologies.