Marshall McLuhan was a renowned Canadian communications theorist born on July 21, 1911, in Edmonton and died on December 31, 1980, in Toronto.
His pivotal aphorism, “the medium is the message,” underscored the profound influence of electronic mediums, including television and computers, on modes of thinking across disciplines.
McLuhan predicted the eventual obsolescence of the printed book. Associated with the University of Toronto for over three decades, he became an English literature professor in 1952 and later directed the Centre for Culture and Technology.
He penned several significant works, starting with “The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man” in 1962.
Notably, titles like “Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man” reflected his critical perspective on 20th-century societal evolution, solidifying his reputation as a visionary of his era.
I have picked the best quotes by Marshall McLuhan in this blog post.
Top 10 Marshall McLuhan Quotes
The portability of the book, like that of the easel painting, added much to the new culture of individualism. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
The car has become the carapace, the protective and aggressive shell, of urban and suburban man. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
The only people who have proof of their sanity are those who have been discharged from mental institutions. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
Invention is the mother of necessities. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
Money is just the poor man’s credit card. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
In antiquity and the Middle Ages, reading was necessarily reading aloud. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
Schizophrenia may be a necessary consequence of literacy. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
Good taste is the first refuge of the non-creative. It is the last-ditch stand of the artist. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
The specialist is one who never makes small mistakes while moving toward the grand fallacy. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
In non-visual space both man and animal are hunters. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
Famous Marshall McLuhan Quotes
The more the data banks record about each one of us, the less we exist. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
The alphabet and print technology fostered and encouraged a fragmenting process, a process of specialism and detachment. Electric technology fosters and encourages unification and involvement. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
Our technology forces us to live mythically. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
A half-minute of television is equal to three minutes of stage or vaudeville. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
One of the effects of living with electric information is that we live habitually in a state of information overload. There’s always more than you can cope with. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
The age of automation is going to be the age of do it yourself. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
In the name of progress, our official culture is striving to force the new media to do the work of the old. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
I may be wrong, but I’m never in doubt. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
The future masters of technology will have to be light-hearted and intelligent. The machine easily masters the grim and the dumb. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
Typographic man can express but is helpless to read the configurations of print technology. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
Best Marshall McLuhan Quotes
The content or time-clothing of any medium or culture is the preceding medium or culture. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
Transmitted at the speed of light, all events on this planet are simultaneous. In the electric environment of information, all events are simultaneous, there is no time or space separating events. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
America is the only country ever founded on the printed word. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
Except for light, all other media come in pairs, with one acting as the ‘content’ of the other, obscuring the operation of both. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
Art is anything you can get away with. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
Professionalism merges the individual into patterns of total environment. Amateurism seeks the development of the total awareness of the individual and the critical awareness of the ground rules of society. The amateur can afford to lose. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
There is absolutely no inevitability as long as there is a willingness to contemplate what is happening. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
The ad is a meeting place of all the arts and all the skills and all the media of the American environment. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
Most of our assumptions have outlived their uselessness. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
Man works when he is partially involved. When he is totally involved he is at play or leisure. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
Popular Marshall McLuhan Quotes
The successor to politics will be propaganda. Propaganda, not in the sense of a message or ideology, but as the impact of the whole technology of the times. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
Advertising is the greatest art form of the twentieth century. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
Great art speaks a language which every intelligent person can understand. The people who call themselves modernists today speak a different language. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
All media are extensions of some human faculty – psychic or physical. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is a hallucinating idiot…for he sees what no one else does: things that, to everyone else, are not there. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
Don’t ask whether it is right or wrong. Instead, try to find out what is going on. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
It is the weak and confused who worship the pseudo-simplicities of brutal directness. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
The TV generation is postliterate and retribalized. It seeks by violence to scrub the old private image and to merge in a new tribal identity, like any corporate executive. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
The business of the advertiser is to see that we go about our business with some magic spell or tune or slogan throbbing quietly in the background of our minds. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
Powerful Marshall McLuhan Quotes
First we build the tools, then they build us. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
Anyone who tries to make a distinction between education and entertainment doesn’t know the first thing about either. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
All words, in every language, are metaphors. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
Control over change would seem to consist in moving not with it but ahead of it. Anticipation gives the power to deflect and control force. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
Every society honors its live conformists and its dead troublemakers. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
A moral point of view too often serves as a substitute for understanding in technological matters. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
Where the whole man is involved there is no work. Work begins with the division of labor. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
The literate man is a sucker for propaganda. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
Only puny secrets need protection. Big discoveries are protected by public incredulity. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
Thought-Provoking Marshall McLuhan Quotes
In television, images are projected at you. You are the screen. The images wrap around you. You are the vanishing point. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
The spoken word was the first technology by which man was able to let go of his environment in order to grasp it in a new way. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
The electric age…established a global network that has much the character of our central nervous system. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
Literacy, the visual technology, dissolved the tribal magic by means of its stress on fragmentation and specialization and created the individual. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
It is the framework which changes with each new technology and not just the picture within the frame. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
All media are extensions of some human faculty- psychic or physical. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
The printing press was at first mistaken for an engine of immortality by everybody except Shakespeare. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
Photography turns people into things and their image into a mass consumer product. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
To say that ‘the camera cannot lie’ is merely to underline the multiple deceits that are now practiced in its name. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
What we call art would seem to be specialist artifacts for enhancing human perception. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
Profound Marshall McLuhan Quotes
The news automatically becomes the real world for the TV user and is not a substitute for reality, but is itself an immediate reality. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
The ‘expert’ is the man who stays put. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
When technology extends one of our senses, a new translation of culture occurs as swiftly as the new technology is interiorized. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
Artists in various fields are always the first to discover how to enable one medium or to release the power of another. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
Technology is that which separates us from our environment. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
A point of view can be a dangerous luxury when substituted for insight and understanding. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
Environments are not passive wrappings, but are, rather, active processes which are invisible. The ground rules, pervasive structure, and overall patterns of environments elude easy perception. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
The modern Little Red Riding Hood reared on singing commercials, has no objection to being eaten by the wolf. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
Advertising is the garment of abundance…a masque-like ‘put on’ of all the motifs and actions of our time. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
The new electronic independence re-creates the world in the image of a global village. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
Print created individualism and nationalism in the sixteenth century. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
Insightful Marshall McLuhan Quotes
Many a good argument is ruined by some fool who knows what he is talking about. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
I wouldn’t have seen it if I hadn’t believed it. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
Societies have always been shaped more by the nature of the media by which men communicate than by the content of the communication. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
There are no passengers on spaceship earth. We are all crew. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
Any understanding of social and cultural change is impossible without a knowledge of the way media work as environments. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
If the nineteenth century was the age of the editorial chair, ours is the century of the psychiatrist’s couch. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
American youth attributes much more importance to arriving at driver’s license age than at voting age. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
The computer is the most extraordinary of man’s technological clothing; it’s an extension of our central nervous system. Beside it, the wheel is a mere hula-hoop. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
Once you see the boundaries of your environment, they are no longer the boundaries of your environment. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
Wise Marshall McLuhan Quotes
To see a man slip on a banana skin is to see a rationally structured system suddenly translated into a whirling machine. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
Violence is the quest for identity. When identity disappears with technological innovation, violence is the natural recourse. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
We drive into the future using only our rearview mirror. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
People who write obscurely are either unskilled in writing or up to mischief. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
New media may at first appear as mere codes of transmission for older achievement and established patterns of thought. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
There is absolutely no inevitability, so long as there is a willingness to contemplate what is happening. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
Everybody experiences far more than he understands. Yet it is experience, rather than understanding, that influences behavior. ~ Marshall McLuhan.
So these were the 92 famous quotes about Marshall McLuhan.