A fish in water. The carrier of water.

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Your basic fish aquarium. The fight of opposition symbols between the context of a media ecology (like water is to a fish) and the content (fish) living within this ecology. Can one truly discover and understand and use his or her understanding of their media ecology to their benefit? Do the fish above know they are in water? Or, are they the last in the world to discover this? Or, should those of us creating these captions seriously look for day jobs?

Eric McLuhan

Toronto

2/12/16

 

Eric,

That image comes up again. The image of a teenage boy walking around the campus of the Webb School of California in the middle 60s. The book he always seemed to be carrying, mixed up with the big book textbook on the great English writers. The grand book of literature had some royal-sounding ring to it. I can’t remember. Maybe a nickname everyone gave it? Next to the big textbooks I carried around in those years was my dog-eared copy of Understanding Media. It wasn’t so much that it explained so much going on around me as much as it helped explain me. It was the “media” the rest of the “message” content of the textbooks floated in those years. A small book. Yet so much larger than any of the other books in my life. Your father’s voice always like a medium in more than one-way for me.

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The book I carried as a teenager … like the tv cowboys carried their guns. 

The voice, the perspective in life that saw the surrounding context of the situation. Like Virginia Woolf saw her “surroundings” in To the Lighthouse. Particularly, the famous passage of mixed narrators, suggesting that her perspective was outside “message” and into “medium.” (Reference to the famous inside/outside scene in The Great Gatsby) As your father quoted with his wonderful Bacon quote, so much depends on participation or not in culture today. The great works of art, require audience, viewer, participation to finish, complete the piece of art. In other words, some bare forms are laid that (hopefully) beckon to young men today to take up some type of quest, or calling.

* * *

I’m beginning what looks to be a fascinating book now called Hooked: How to Build Habit Forming Products. I heard it recommended by a leader in Silicon Valley and saw that it has about 700 five star reviews now on Amazon. A short book, what I like. It came two days after I ordered it from Amazon. Like almost everything I order from them. (Maybe that’s why I’m “hooked” on products I want from Amazon?)

The book’s by Nir Eyal who spent years in the video gaming and advertising industries where he learned, applied, and at times rejected, techniques described in Hooked to motivate and influence users. He has taught courses on applied consumer psychology at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, and is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and at Fortune 500 companies. His writing on technology, psychology, and business appears in the Harvard Business ReviewThe AtlanticTechCrunch, and Psychology Today.

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Hooked. See it on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Hooked-How-Build-Habit-Forming-Products/dp/1591847788/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1455330248&sr=1-1&keywords=Hooked.

Certainly a book to take a look at if your a millennial trying to figure out how “they” control you and how “you” can create another one of those products people are “hooked” on today. The digital culture and technology has created something beyond products and branding. Beyond the normal evolution of marketing science and into something totally new in creating products within a “Hooked” culture. Something new in marketing in the creation of these products that hook us. All of course within the context of our dominating electronic, digital culture. The grand evolution of media forms moves onward. But also upward? Forward and upward? It still seems hard to say the ultimate outcome of this. But if we might view various media throughout history dominated by either a broadcast (one way of early 20th century television, radio and newspapers and magazines) or interactive or digital (two-way dominating culture now and against it, the old one-way broadcast method.)

* * *

As Jung might say, the dominance of broadcast media is an example of the male ego over the female ego in culture. Broadcast media in America has to be associated with the dominance of the mechanical, linear and male controlled culture. At the same time, our current digital dominated culture creates a new non-linear controlled environment. It shows the decline of the mechanical in the world. It is established in symbolism (as well by the writings of Marshall McLuhan) that electricity is a unifying, community based technology.

For that matter, a feminine controlled technology that controls us, less seen than even the past, like water controls fish. Another grand transformation into an electronic way of feeling and perceiving the world. In the communal sense of the current millennial generation against the media broadcast ideology of the baby boom generation.

These two grand symbols of media – the one-way broadcast media of the early years of mass media, and the two-way interactive (digital) media of the Internet. The historical cycle of technology moves certainly towards the communal of the aspects of digital technology and its founding (millennial) generation. I suggested in my 2003 manuscript Media Nations (inspired by my trip to Toronto and meeting Eric McLuan and Donald Theall) that the percentages of media consumption of various devices in nations should be a new way of defining nations and similar cultures. Much more relevant, it seems to me in our digital, media using, culture.

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Carl Jung Contemplates His Life at 80.( By Lake Zurich)

The grand two founding symbols of America, freedom and equality. The only nation in history founded on a clash, confrontation (rather assimilation) of opposite (and paradoxical) symbols. In its founding. In the American Civil War. In all the wars the nation has been involved in. In the two political traditions, liberal and conservative. In the two political parties: Democrats and Republicans.

So, without starting the new book, the title has already got me thinking and speculating on things like the above. Not bad for the little yellow book off to my left on my desk! Would Carl Jung associate a digital culture as a feminine symbol. There is little doubt in my mind that he would. It makes sense from the grand perspective of astrology that we are moving from the Age of Pisces to the Age of Aquarius. From the age of the “Pisces” fish symbol (living in water) to the symbol of one who carries, contains, water – once the total environment of an age. Now, it is “carried” by the symbol of the coming Age of Aquarius.

* * *

The two grand symbols continue to battle in culture, moving through their cycle, the cycle of all life: from equality in birth (surround by water inside a mother) to the growth of inequality (freedom) in one’s life cycle. From the few experiences and views of life (and media) during one’s early years to many millions experiences to media during one’s later years. Of course there is always battle between the old symbols (again the founding symbols of America and those that battle within everyone): the search for freedom and, at the same time, connection or equality.

The author tells us he is going to give us a particular formula for creating products that “hook” people. A big payout for sure and many should be interested. And have been. Its become a classic business book. I’ll have a review on the book after this first review of the culture the book is written in. That’s the effect of a great “hooked” marketing word like the word “Hooked.” The author seemed to be using a rod to immediately signal out to me, the way I’m feeling while living in this culture today we all “swim” around in, like fish. (“I’m not sure who discovered water. But I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a fish.” Atributed to various authors.)

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Symbol of Freedom. The amazing thing is being able to examine a culture than has hooked us. Perhaps this is not possible? Perhaps we’re all too much “fish” of our environment. Swimming around in it yet unaware we are swimming. Apps for our iPhones. The most time spent interfacing with little screens. The psychology of things like “Likes” on FaceBook. The power of a political candidate using Tweets to offer his messages out there. There is a great advertising photo of tow couple leaning against the front hood of a car. There is crayoned onto the front window of the car then lean against “Just Married.”They are both busy with their devices in front of them. So different from the paintings of Norman Rockwell on the cover of . I remember so well the thanksiving painting of the serving of the turkey around a table of family members, all leaning into the painting, as well as the concept of being part of a community. The contrast in the two images represents this great clash of symbols we are living through.

The amazing thing is being able to examine a culture than has hooked us. Perhaps this is not possible? Perhaps we’re all too much “fish” of our environment. Swimming around in it yet unaware we are swimming. Apps for our iPhones. The most time spent interfacing with little screens. The psychology of things like “Likes” on FaceBook. The power of a political candidate using Tweets to offer his messages out there. There is a great advertising photo of tow couple leaning against the front hood of a car. There is crayoned onto the front window of the car then lean against “Just Married.”They are both busy with their devices in front of them. So different from the paintings of Norman Rockwell on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post. I remember so well the thanksiving painting of the serving of the turkey around a table of family members, all leaning into the painting, as well as the concept of being part of a community. The contrast in the two images represents this great clash of symbols we are living through.

* * *

Before I leave tonight, the title of the book has me again speculating ofn the word hooked. These are technology products  we are ”hooked” on today we use without thinking about them as much as not thinking about our habit. The word hooked is linked to the stae of being distracted seems to be the perpetual state of modern culture. The results of a hooked culture (so note a number of scholars) is declining empathy. The article in a recent New York Times Review of Books (February 2016) discusses four books of leading thinkers on digital culture on society and culture and, really, the overall course of our nation for those who put the “water” of media the great influencer of personal and collective culture and

See this excellent article on much of what we discuss in the great New York Review of Books (some people are still thinking in culture) at http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2016/02/25/we-are-hopelessly-hooked.

So, I’ll have a type of report to you when I finish reading this book.

If all this around me allows me to report on things. Observe it. Outside of it. Third person narrative perspective. Or is it similar to a great Black Hole? Forcing one holding everything within?

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Symbol of equality. Half and half. But is this as strong as the symbol of the Eagle?

My thought was that the ideas in this particular book might be used to create “content” or messages within the “context” medium of technological culture and collective psychology today. In other words, using the ideas in this book as a source of ideas for creating screenplays? Might it be possible to “build” inside screenplays, “habit-forming products?” Might the content of screenplays in their words of description and words of dialogue. Might a screenwriter be able to use the insights of this book I’m about ot read to create a new “habit forming” screenplay style?

Anyway, excited to read this little yellow book next to me called Hooked. The always presence to me that just one book (or a sentence, or word) might change the world in the same radical way like M=MC squared changed a world. Is there a formula for the modern TechnoLogical, digital world? A formula like there is in quantum physics? There should be one for Media. Western science is so good at analyzing content (message) while context (medium) always escapes not only analysis but simply recognition that it is even present in the environment. Of course your father understood all of this, understood it like a fish that gets pissed off for all the water pressing against it every day.

John

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