Tetrad laws of media probes


Laws of Media
Laws of Media
  Chains etc.
Medium is the Message
  Start Here
  First Law of Motion
  Second Law of Motion
  Third Law of Motion



All of man's artefacts - whether language, or laws, or ideas and hypotheses, or tools, or clothing, or computers -- are extensions of the physical human body or the mind."

What are Artifacts?

Technologies are the most obvious extension of man. Eye glasses certainly extend the capabilities of our eyes. Clothing allows us to keep warmer than our skin alone will allow. The bicycle and automobile let us travel farther and quicker than we could walk on our feet. Computers are extensions of our central nervous system.

Extensions are not strickly hardware but also other pillars of civilization. Newton's Laws of Physics, ideogram, numbers, and language are extensions. Our tools are not just physical.

Here's a partial list form "Laws of Media" p. 117

club, hammer -forearm, fist
clothing -skin
house -skelton
saw, knife, bullet -teeth
writing -eye
mirror, telescope, microscope -eye
camera, spectacles -eye
cup, bowl -hands (cupped)
refrigerator -stomach

Words change but the idea has not. What we currently call media is not the same as when "Understanding Media" was published in 1964. The subtitle of that book is "the extensions of man." This is what McLuhan continued to probe until his death. The word now is technology but even this is not broad enough. Artefacts has a broader scope and this is what we are need to understand as much as possible.

We often learn best by example. Look at the scope of artefacts that were analysised in "Laws of Media" by the McLuhans.

Why are Artifacts Important?

[Insert list here after tetrad pages are developed.]

How Do We Study Artifacts?

McLuhan's Laws of Media Tetrad is an excellent tool for analysing artifacts. By asking the four questions and tuning the answers, we can come up with strong tetrads.

However, there can certainly be more than one tetrad per atrifact. "One general lesson here ... is that the four effects are rarely singular. Instead, given media usually enhance, obsolesce, retrieve and reverse into many things." (Levinson, Digital McLuhan p. 190) Indeed, in "Laws of Media" McLuhans present alternative tetrads for several artifacts. So any probe is worth considering.

Author: Ray Daly
Updated: Update-Goes-Here