Marshal McLuhan in the chapter “The Gadget Lover” explores the concept of the physical body and emerging technology in ways that draw upon biology and physical sciences in unique ways. McLuhan’s explains his idea that technology is an “extension or self-amputation of our physical bodies,” and simultaneously our bodies, emotions and technology are working to maintain a sense of equilibrium inflicted by external shocks and disruptions. (45) This circular concept of technology responding to the body’s need and then the self also responding to this newly formed body part to maintain a the proper ratios for existence, provides an interesting perspective on how media can not be separated from ourselves in the physical and emotional sense. McLuhan’s entire idea that the medium and not the content is what holds the power to affect social norms and senses is most easily understandable in the physical context.
Media does follow patterns of evolution into the human body and psyche, we develop technology and then create a dependence on it because it solves the problems we frequently encountered. Following this occurrence the technology becomes a staple of our society – in economic terms as well – and the body and this new media has evolved from a foreign extension into something commonplace. The biological metaphor works well, but in practical terms because it isn’t truly a physical extension only a theoretical, there is the issue that some people remain unable to evolve with the emerging technology. It is as if there is this technological concept of natural selection, those that can understand the sensory and practical effects of new technology adapt the ability to use it for their benefit. Those that don’t adapt, remain using their old bodies for the same problems the new technologically developed bodies have eased the difficulty in solving. This concept is also interesting because it draws from the notion that technology is always moving an a progressive and beneficial line. So in the information age with the knowledge of McLuhan’s work, I wonder where in this digital evolution one stands when they resist technology, or even if in a mass social movement cultures and people resist the evolution of their bodies through technology.