Friday, October 06, 2006

Archetypal Medium is Archetypal Message

Another example of the medium is the message, from James Hillman's Re-Visioning Psychology:
Our word idea comes from the Greek eidos, which meant originally in early Greek thought, and as Plato use it, both that which one sees—an appearance or shape in a concrete sense—and that by means of which one sees. We see them, and by means of them. Ideas are both the shape of events, their constellation in this or that archetypal pattern, and the modes that make possible our ability to see throught events into their pattern.
Asked by Edwin Newman, "Why is the medium the message? Why is not the message the message?" McLuhan replied blithely, "Where would you look for the message in an electric light? Or in a candle? The medium and the message are one." Hillman, in effect, asks, "How would you distinguish between the medium and the message in an idea?" Somewhat contrary to Hillman, theologian Charles Hartshorne rejects the medium/message conflation when it comes to experience per se:

“Experience has to have a content; it is experience of something. Philosophers have argued about the proposition, 'Perhaps all we directly experience is our own mental state at the time.' But mental states are just experiences over again, so that the proposition means, 'Perhaps our experiences are of nothing except themselves.' We must reject the absurd idea that any experience can thus furnish its own sole datum. A mere awareness of that same awareness is nonsense. Discarding this nonsense, let us see what the data of experience can be . . . .”

from Hartshorne's The Logic of Perfection


  1. My opinion would then be, the Medium and the message are separate, in the idea stage.

  2. Hi, Im from Melbourne Australia.These related references thoroughly examine the question of what is Real & True.

    Plus this essay on how the media works.

  3. John, thanks for sharing. I visited the sites you recommended. One caution: You run the risk of giving mumbo-jumbo a bad name.