McLuhan letter to Ezra Pound Dec.21st 1948

ON THE EZRA POUND/ MARSHALL MCLUHAN CORRESPONDENCEby EDWIN J. BARTON

http://projects.chass.utoronto.ca/mcluhan-studies/v1_iss1/1_1art11.htm

“The only problem with this mode of thinking and presentation, as McLuhan was to discover, lay in the resistance with which it was met, and continues to be met, by Western intellectuals. For, as McLuhan put it in a letter written in 1948, this way of writing and thinking is inaccessible to those whose mentality is “incorruptibly dialectical.”

The American mind is not even close to being amenable to the ideogram principle as yet. The reason is simply this. America is 100% 18th century. The 18th century chucked out the principle of metaphor and analogy-the basic fact that as A is to B so C is to D. AB : CD. It can see AB relations. But all relations in four terms are still verboten. This amounts to a deep occultation of all human thought for the U.S.A. (21 December 1948)

It was precisely this structure and action of the metaphorical analogy, of course, that enabled McLuhan and his son Eric, many years later, to arrive at tetradic model of laws with which to study media “scientifically.”–EDWIN J. BARTON.

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