Back to the Tribe

Modern technologies can revive ancient impulses

Modernity tried to whitewash our tribal selves, to erase the vestiges of the savannah in our genome. But like graffiti in a city, our inner caveman is irrepressible. The ancient hominid self springs up unpredictably and in unexpected places. The tribe underlies the most fundamental parts of our identities, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to pin down. How far have we moved from our small bands of foragers? Digital technologies like social networking sites and cell phones return us to an age of tribal-style social immersion.

Essay by Marshall McLuhan

The Playboy Interview

In 1961, the name of Marshall McLuhan was unknown to everyone but his English students at the University of Toronto — and a coterie of academic admirers who followed his abstruse articles in small-circulation quarterlies. But then came two remarkable books — The Gutenberg Galaxy (1962) and Understanding Media (1964) — and the graying professor from Canada’s western hinterlands soon found himself characterized by the San Francisco Chronicle as “the hottest academic property around.”…

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'The instant nature of electric-information movement is decentralizing, rather than enlarging, the family of man into a new state of multitudinous tribal existences'

Marshall McLuhan

Archaeologist Finds Ruins of ‘Friendster’

Researchers conducting the Friendster excavation say the site has been deserted since the year 2005 A.D.


Wifi Dowsing Rod

Today’s technology advances so rapidly that people are often unable to update their media schemas in time and as a result are left cluelessly in awe of it all. Mike Thompson’s Wifi dowsing rod aims to work against this: By basing the design for a wireless internet detector on ancient technology, the user should immediately feel at home with the device.…

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To Milk the Cows, Click here

In millions of offices and homes around the world, people are hard at work planting crops, feeding cattle and tilling their land. Welcome to Farmville, the digital rural world where the sun always shines, where beans take two days to grow, where pink cows produce strawberry milk, where farming is leisure.…

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How to Grow your Own Toaster

Now here is an experiment any one can do at home: Look around in your house and try to find a consumer product of which you know where it was made and by whom. Got any? Indeed, this can be quite a difficult task nowadays.…

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