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Professor Marshall McLuhan observed, as we’ve discussed over the last several months, that the more electronic-media-saturated our world becomes, the more we’ll tend to group ourselves in a sort of ‘tribalism’. That means less interest in the rights and dignity of individuals, and more concern with ‘tribes’ or groups.
This past weekend, many individuals across the nation gathered together in marches defending the rights of “pre-born” children. McLuhan himself was a pro-life advocate and activist, even leading a demonstration in Ottowa.
The year after Roe v. Wade was decided in the United States, McLuhan wrote a letter to the Toronto Star pointing to the effect of electronic media on the Western mind regarding abortion:
It is important to realize that all of our thinking about abortion is taking place in the smogged-over world of TV. It is becoming monstrous to even mention the individual rights of the born, or the unborn. Only huge categories will serve, such as the ‘rights of pregnant teenagers’… (Letters of Marshall McLuhan, Oxford University Press, 1987).
I would venture to say that, the only way to counteract this electronically-induced zombie tribalism is to snap people out of their boob-and-You-tube comas. How?
Personal interaction. Or, to use McLuhan’s term: counteract the dis-incarnation with the Incarnation, through your carne-ate, in-the-flesh, personal, human experience. Be present for pregnant mothers. Volunteer. Donate. Stand up for the rights of all. Contribute your self, your personal story, your presence.
That’s the challenge. Are we prepared to get personal?