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Fri Apr 08, 2011 2:19 am
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Post subject: What the panicking American SubGenie tries to keep up with: Reply with quote

WAR AND PEACE IN THE GLOBAL VILLAGE by Marshall McLuhan, 1968, pp.188-190

[A Further Message to the Fish Fresh Out of Water:

The "End of Nature" theme may well require a footnote. It can be provided very conveniently by Ernst Mayr's *Animal Species and Evolution*:

{... a world in which there are no species but only individuals, all belonging to a single 'connubium.' Every individual is different from every other one in varying degrees, and every individual is capable of mating with
those others that are most similar to it. In such a world every
individual would be, so to speak, the center of a series of concentric rings of increasingly more different individuals. Any two mates would be on the average rather different from other and would produce a vast array of genetically different types among their offspring. Now let us assume that
one of these recombinations is particularly well adapted for one of the available niches. It is prosperous in this niche, but when the time comes for mating this superior genetic complex will inevitably be broken up. There is no mechanism that would prevent such a destruction of genetically
superior combinations and there is, therefore, no possibility of the gradual improvement of genetic combinations. The significance of the species now becomes evident. The reproductive isolation of a species is a protective device
against the breaking up of its well integrated co-adapted system.}

The self-amputations of man (the extensions of his body and, most recently, his nervous system), which we call technologies, can be substituted throughout this passage for the word 'species.' Today the new species are, thanks to the speed of intercommunication, those environments which had
formerly been habitants. All media or technologies, languages as weaponry, create new environments or habitats, which become the milieux for new species or technologies. The evolutionary habitats of the biologists since
Darwin were the old nature which has now been transcended by satellite and radar.

The biologists use two other categories that are helpful for perceiving the relation between the end of nature today and the problem of understanding the future of media and technology. They speak of 'outbreeding' and 'inbreeding.' As Mayr puts it, 'Most animals are essentially outbreeders,
most microorganisms inbreeders.'

With electricity, all this has changed totally. At present the entire mammalian world has become the microoganismic. It is the total individual cultures of the world, linguistically and politically, that have become the mammals, according to the old classifications of evolutionary hypothesis. It is the cultural habitat in which we have long been accustomed to think that people were contained that has become the mammal itself, now contained in a new macrocosm or 'connubium' of a super-terrestrial kind. Our technologies or self-amputations, and the environments or habitats which they create, must become that matrix of that macrocosm connubial bliss derided by the evolutionist.]

Bob Dobbs
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