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Mind and media: Exploring the Freud-McLuhan connection

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In this article we examine the thesis that Sigmund Freud might have had a possible influence on the thinking of Marshall McLuhan. We also develop the parallels in their thinking. The first hint of this connection is that McLuhan frequently refers to Freud in his writings. The second hint is that both men were battling invisible forces - unnoticed or subliminal effects of media for McLuhan and repressed memories and the unconscious for Freud. We present this hypothesis as a probe, which we believe has some degree of truth to it given the frequency with which McLuhan referred to and quoted Freud. Even if it is not true it is still illuminating to see the parallels of these two revolutionary thinkers who explored the workings of the human psyche from two completely different perspectives.

Keywords: conscious; grievances; jokes; psyche; subliminal; unconscious

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro/CNPq 2: University of Toronto

Publication date: December 1, 2013

More about this publication?
  • EME explores the relationships between media, technology, symbolic form, communication, consciousness, and culture. Its scope is interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary. Media ecology provides a rich philosophical, historical and practical context for studying our increasingly technological and mediated society and culture with an emphasis on historical context.
    Media ecology scholarship emphasizes a humanistic approach to understanding media, communication, and technology, with special emphasis on the ways in which we have been and continue to be shaped and influenced by our inventions and innovation. The Media ecology approach is predicated on understanding that media, symbols, and technologies play a leading role in human affairs, and function as largely invisible environments affecting the way we think, feel, act, and organize ourselves collectively.
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