I was hoping and believing that this whole lockdown situation was easing up. We were getting vaccines, and there was some hope floating around in the atmosphere for a while. I began imagining and even daring to plan summer visiting, post-vaccine social living. More than just spring gardening plans, I was thinking about sharing some of the pleasures of our new life here on Salt Spring Island. Ha. This past couple of week’s scary numbers and the new restrictions dashed those hopes, knocked that glass off the table like a grumpy cat.
Back to the way it was, in consideration of others, holding steady. So I tell myself, gently gently, carry on as before, patience for an easy lockdown.
Still, with the coming of spring I’m just bursting with news of the new. Like spring blossoms that hold the promise of summer.
And besides, there’s sunshine!
Remember when tanning was a thing and lifeguards used a suntan lotion home-made from baby oil and tea? Life turns and what was good is bad, what was bad is good, a flip from one view to the opposite, and back again. Like the metal petals on that reflecting sunbonnet.
Marshall McLuhan tracked the codes behind these societal changes, traced them up to their source. Not the source of the great river Ganges high in the Himalayas, but up to the source of our media environment, a rarified atmosphere where few ever travel.
Are there sages in caves along the way? Some. And they decode with great wisdom the ins and outs of our plugged-in/unplugged world. Who would know that radio would come back as wifi-powered playlists?
Former centralized media vehicles fragmented into tributaries of the great river, but the source, and the self-established keepers of the source remain far away in remote places. Those keepers may be close to the source but they are actually only active observers. Even they are not immune to the forces which they feel they command. And the influences of these distributed radiating powers means that there is not a central point of view, only a plethora of views.
So they tune into the way these media are being used by the so-called audience who are actually the content of it all. They monitor, adapt and orchestrate the collaboration of algorithm and human engagement.
On the dark side, some work to subvert individuation by tapping right into the fear brain using the deep image language of dream and wish. Amplifying the great negative so worried people find relief by connecting using (guess what??) their technology. Money is made by fueling mass fear, and so it loops and feeds back on itself.
But then the surprise happens. The whole thing flips again. What was good becomes known as bad, the view flips into its opposite. McLuhan showed us this is in the nature of media. So let’s watch to see what comes next. Will we flip into stronger individuality?
If so, I’m ready, and that’s what this newsletter’s all about. However, if things flip in another direction, say - toward more mass mood-mud, I’ll still be writing these notes to you - it’s in my nature to just put it out there, like the promise of blossoms.
As summer comes nearer, I know most of us aren’t going to want to read newsletters much. We’ll be outside doing things - playing in the sun, gardening, wearing light clothes, with our coats flattened in the back of the closet until fall.
But I must be in opposite-land because I’m feeling inspired to write much more than before. I’ll try to keep my sentences short and not too challenging to the summertime mind. So watch your inbox (and if it doesn’t show up, check your spam or promotions tab). There’s more coming your way in the months to come.
Thanks for staying with me on this newsletter, for reading, and sharing. If you like this issue, please click the heart!
See you next time :)