Sunday Book-Thought 59

All Western ‘scientific’ models of communication are, like the Shannon-Weaver model, linear, logical, and sequential in accordance with the pattern of efficient causality.
These are all in the figure-minus-ground mode of the left hemisphere, and in contrast do not relate to the effects of simultaneity and discontinuity and resonance that typify experience in an electronic culture. For use in the electric age, a right-hemisphere model of communication is necessary, both because our culture has nearly completed the process of shifting its cognitive modes from the left to the right hemisphere, and because the electronic media themselves are right-hemisphere in their patterns and operation. The problem is to discover such a model that yet is congenial to our culture with its residuum of left-hemisphere tradition. Such a model would have to take into account the apposition of both figure and ground instead of concentrating solely on an abstract sequence or movement isolated from any ground.
Marshall McLuhan and Eric McLuhan, Laws of Media: The New Science (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1988), pp. 90-91.


Sunday Book-Thought 53

Communication is the process by which culture is developed and maintained. For it is only when people develop language, and thus a way of communicating, that a culture can, in fact, emerge and be imparted. Information, the content of communications, is the basic source of all human intercourse. Over the course of human history, it has been embodied and communicated in an ever expanding variety of media, including among them spoken words, graphics, artifacts, music, dance, written text, film, recordings, and computer hardware and software. Together, these media and the channels through which they are distributed, constitute the web of society, which determine the direction and pace of social development. Seen from this perspective, the communication of information permeates the cultural environment and is essential to all aspects of social life.
– United States Office of Technology Assessment, Intellectual Property Rights in an Age of Electronics and Information (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, April 1986), p. 49.