Know Thyself
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The third of five books in the groundbreaking new series The Human Equation Toolkit.

In Books 1 and 2 of The Human Equation Toolkit series, mime Wayne Constantineau and scholar Eric McLuhan explore the four postures and the four modes of action. They show how the postures (standing, lying down, kneeling, sitting) combine with the modes of action (isometric pressure, displacement, configuration, articulation) to provide the basis of all developments in culture, science, activity, and media.

Now, in Book 3 of the series, they investigate the interplay between these modes and the modes of perception. "Know yourself" becomes a journey that Socrates -- and perhaps even the Delphic Oracle -- never could have imagined: a sense-opening odyssey into the pathological and physiological effects of the media -- or extensions -- of humanity.



Publié par
Date de parution 24 septembre 2012
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781927483312
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0025€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Know Thyself: Action and Perception is Book 3 in The Human Equation Toolkit, a series of books and other materials flowing from the life and work of mime and scholar Wayne Constantineau, and the work of Eric McLuhan. (Please see the Publisher s Note at the end of this book.)
Action and Perception
Book 3 The Human Equation Toolkit
Wayne Constantineau and Eric McLuhan
Illustrations by Heidi Overhill
Text 2012, by Eric McLuhan and Heidi Overhill.
Ear illustration page 60 adapted from Poul la Cour, Tidens naturl re , 1903, Fig. 40; other illustrations Heidi Overhill, 2012.
All rights reserved. No translation or reproduction in any form is permitted without the written consent of the publisher.
ISBN 978-1-927483-26-8
Cataloguing-in-Publication Data available from Library and Archives Canada.
Published in 2012 by BPS Books Toronto and New York A division of Bastian Publishing Services Ltd.
Scholar and mime Wayne Constantineau faced his imminent death with grace and fortitude in the summer of 2006, with a small team of supporters gathered around him. Many were close friends of many years, past collaborators in his varied adventures. Dennis and Dianne Hayes provided the central care and comfort that made it possible for Wayne to stay out of hospital in his last months. Others brought cameras, or computers, to help bring his life s work to fruition in the form of this series of small books and other media. Others gave of their time and skills. This task, which remained only partly finished at his death, is now finding expression through this creation of The Human Equation Toolkit. This work represents, I feel, an important development of the living legacy of media studies left by my father, Marshall McLuhan. I am proud to have been able to complete the writing of this book and the rest of the series.
Eric McLuhan Prince Edward County, Ontario
Table of Contents
Preface to Book 3
Part 1
1 / The Modes of Action
Part 2
2 / The Modes of Perceptual Action
3 / Perception as Pressure
4 / Kinesthesia and Touch
5 / Harmonizing Action and Perception
6 / The Modes of Touch
7 / How the Sensorium Flips
8 / The Ear: The Architectural Axis of the Human Body
Part 3
9 / The Mysteries of Sight
10 / Experiments with Light-on and Light-through
11 / The Bias of Media Versus Conscious Evolution
Publisher s Note
Preface to Book 3
This third book of The Human Equation series explores the interplay between our four modes of action and the modes of perception. The interval between postures is always where the action is.
This book is thus an introduction to the study of the pathology of the extensions of man, and the physiology of those extensions as bodily forms. Each new extension of the body or the faculties instills an unconscious bias of perception and bias of modes of action.
Art is the only area where perception is fresh and not biased, where training of perception is the norm and is a continual process. Art changes its function as the mode of culture changes. In a time of rapid change such as ours the principal occupation of every artist is to educate his own sensibilities, to remain awake where and when the rest of us are numbed by fresh assaults on our senses by extensions of our senses and bodies. With the appearance of the first electric technologies in the mid-nineteenth century, our arts responded by reverting from concern with producing aesthetic objects to being a process of continual adjustment of an anti-environmental kind.
Since that time, our arts have been countercultural in their structure and operation. Their function has been to offset the bias of new media and restore equilibrium to perception. Consequently the artist in whatever field has to anticipate the effects of media: hence the truism that artists are the antennae of the race.
T. S. Eliot wrote:
[Dante provides] a constant reminder to the poet, of the obligation to explore, to find words for the inarticulate, to capture those feelings which people can hardly even feel, because they have no words for them; and at the same time, a reminder that the explorer beyond the frontiers of ordinary consciousness will only be able to return and report to his fellow-citizens, if he has all the time a firm grasp upon the realities with which they are already acquainted. *
To that end, the following pages present a few loosening-up exercises.
* In What Dante Means to Me, To Criticize the Critic (New York: Farrar, Straus Giroux, 1965, 1970), page 134.

Know thyself, thyself in true proportion.
-The Oracle at Delphi
Art bids us touch and taste and hear and see the world and shrink from what Blake calls mathematic form, from every abstract thing, from all that is not a fountain jetting from the entire hopes, memories, and sensations of the body.
-William Butler Yeats , Thinking of the Body
Everybody thinks of changing humanity; nobody thinks of changing himself.
- An old saying

Know Thyself
All fields or universes operate in a manner parallel to the operations of the body s four modes of action, which are the only four things the human body is capable of doing. As human media reflect and extend the human body, they invariably follow the same fourfold pattern in their structures. Human media include not just reading, television, and the Internet, but also all of our material culture, like spoons and hammers and cars; these, too, all follow the same rule, building on the four essential human modes. For example, in baseball, the actions are hit (muscular contraction), run (displacement), catch (bring to a stop; posture), and throw (articulation).
Human abstract or conceptual structures follow the same structures, as do even the discoveries of science. Posture, for example, is called inertia in one field (Newton s), gravity in another (the not-yet-accepted unified theory of physics), and tone in yet another (music). If anger is the field of study, you will find that resentment or brooding is analogous to posture while impatience corresponds to articulation, retaliation parallels isometrics, and rage, displacement-a flying rage.
What we call isometric muscular contraction, which Newton abstracted into his third law of motion, equal and opposite reactions, provides an exacting definition of isometrics. For example, DNA s four base-proteins are in a 1:1 ratio with the four modes of action of the body. Call one the modes of gestural action and the other the modes of genetic action, if you wish. The only difference between them is the field: The operations of the one parallel the operations of the other. The list is endless since the correlation is to be found in every field.
In the areas of man-made media, the correspondence is even more striking. It must be so or we could never use man-made media. Chopsticks, spoons, knives, and forks, for example, would be completely useless to humans if each did not correspond exactly to a mode of action (of the hand in this case). When it comes to using a medium, the modes of action are all we have to work with: The media must correspond.
Media come in sets of four, not five or seven or some other configuration, because the user is configured for four modes only.
The main elements of your being-leaving out your godly or spiritual side for the moment-are your thinking, remembering, perceiving, and acting abilities, another set of four.
Our Modes of Being

Why, then, do we choose the modes of action as the constant for the equation? The reason is that out of these four distinct aspects of yourself, one aspect in particular can be commented on by the other three: The modes of action are observable by the senses, re-enactable in memory, and squareable for thought. The modes of action have the added distinction of being in direct interaction with all physical and tangible media.
The modes of action are the easiest of the four sets to locate and to put into comparison with other universes.
These reasons, more than anything else, are why they were chosen as the constant. They make for an overt, non-specialized underpinning. The modes of perception are also included as part of the constant. Why? Because they always act in concert with the modes of physical action (and some media are accessed only through them, for example, radio).
They also configure themselves in a 1:1 ratio with the modes of action. For example, kinesthesia, knowing in the muscles, is practically synonymous with isometric contraction, acting in the muscles. Equally, just as we speak of eye/hand coordination, we can also speak of ear/foot coordination, which is especially obvious when you think of dance and music.

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