Friday 12 October 2012

The Medium

I was just reading a little blurb about Marshall McLuhan’s “the medium is the message” from his book “Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man” in which he says that the medium itself should be studied, not the content in the medium. I remember reading about his ideas and having discussions about how important the ideas were. We looked at all of the different kinds of media and tried to apply these concepts. I remember it being kind of fun at the time.
It just sounds tedious to me now. I am not one to wonder about the sub levels which lie beneath, which are hidden and quite possibly, should remain that way. I remember asking Alice Munroe if when she was writing a story she created all of the underlying messages that we as students would find in her work. She just laughed and told me that she writes the best story that she can and it is for others to find the deeper meaning in the work if indeed there is any. Just what I thought. We are all multi layered and seldom does the general public and even those closest to us get to see the different layers. I don’t think that at any given time we are aware of our own different levels.

I know that I am a different Ken to each and every person that I interact with. I have to be because when you are with a particular person, you each have shared experiences that no one else has. I suppose that the longer someone spends with you the more aspects of your personality they discover. Long married couples know the most about each other, but even they are sometimes surprised by their spouse from time to time. Last week I wrote a blog about how my dad used to call us in from play with a Tarzan yell, and Louise hadn’t known that. It is a little thing, but it is something that shaped a part of me.

When I give people a ride in my car I will always turn the radio to a station that plays the music they like before they get in. Music is background to me and seldom does it matter what I listen to. I don’t like most rap, classics and opera, but pretty much anything else I will listen to. I just realized recently that this causes people who ride with me to think I share their taste in music. I have been doing this all of my life, so I suppose that when I die people will be talking about my love for whichever type of music they love and it will bewilder those they are talking to. Well, that’s assuming they can talk in their deep, deep, deep grief.

Years ago I had the opportunity to find out what other people thought of me, but I didn’t do it because of the cost. The idea was to send an intensive questionnaire to forty or so people that knew me and simply ask various questions and then collate the answers. You also have to answer the questionnaire as honestly as possible yourself. I talked to people who had it done and it gave them a new perspective on who they are and how they are perceived in the world. It turns out that you are your own worst critic. The feedback from friends, family and business acquaintances was almost always more positive than how you felt about yourself. I wish I had done that. I wonder if the questionnaire is still around.
I guess that someone who is what I consider to be a Master would see themselves just as others see them. They would be comfortable playing their own music when others are in the car, they would feel welcome where ever they go and treat everyone as the unique and special person that they are. I guess I still have a way to go. For me it isn’t the medium that is the message, it is more like the large to X-large that has the message. That was a lot funnier in my head than when it was written, but I’m keeping it anyways.

For those who care, here is the carving that I gave to my friend on her retirement.

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