Levels of Consciousness

Jesse S. Cook III (jcook@AWOD.COM)
Wed, 2 Oct 1996 06:27:34 -0400

Dear Ron,

It came to my attention yesterday, through a book I am reading, that
Marshall McLuhan's "quips and aphorisms were not simply wiscracks about the
media, they were expressions of a theory of the evolution of consciousness.
At each stage...a new medium of communication comes forth...We begin with
the origin of language...and we end up with...the Internet. For McLuhan,
there were five evolutionary stages or quantum jumps:

1. Oral
2. Script
3. Alphabetic
4. Print
5. Electronic"

It is always a pleasant experience to find that ones ideas are reinforced by
those of someone else. I have thought as this author says McLuhan thought
for at least the last six years. I would even flesh out this bare outline
with some dates and places:

1. Sometime from 200,000 to 35,000 years ago; anywhere from South
Africa to France.

2. Sometime from 10,000 to 5,000 years ago; in Mesopotamia

3. Sometime around 2,800 years ago; in Greece

4. Sometime around 550 years ago; in Germany

5. Sometime around 50 years ago; in the USA

The spread of dates in the first stage highlight how little we know about
the origins of language. The first date represents the possible origin of
our species, and the second date represents the beginning of the so-called
cultural revolution in Western Europe.

The spread of dates in the second stage highlights the controversy between
Denise Schmandt-Besserat and her supporters and those who criticize her.
She maintains that the clay tokens used in trade were the precursors of writing.

If you (or anyone else) has any questions, I'd be glad to try to answer them.

Jesse S. Cook III E-Mail: jcook@awod.com
Post Office Box 40984 or
Charleston, SC 29485 USA 201-9573@mcimail.com

"...it is not for our faults that we are disliked and even hated,
but for our qualities."--Bernard Berenson (1865-1959)