People are “not designed to live at the speed of light”

Marshall McLuhan, the public intellectual often seen as a proselytizer for new technologies, suggested that the US should get rid of television for at least a few years, to better understand its influence. His early hope that electronic media would enlighten humanity faded as he became convinced that people are “not designed to live at the speed of light.”

McLuhan imagined that receiving high- speed data from around the world through an Internet-like system would make one “schizophrenic.” “Without the countervailing balance of natural and physical laws, the new video-related media will make man implode upon himself,” he said. “His body will remain in one place but his mind will oat out into the electronic void, being everywhere at once in the data bank.”

He foresaw not only the World Wide Web but also the possibility of information overload and the importance of a Slow, mindful ballast.

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