Is Subliminal Influence Real?

Apr 2, 2012

"All media work us over completely."  So said Marshall McLuhan.

It was clear to McLuhan in the early 1960s and it's even clearer to us that engagement with fast-moving electronic media is producing changes that are hard to keep track of.

What if somebody wanted to produce certain changes in us that we weren't aware of?  What if someone wanted to persuade us without having to have a conversation with our conscious intellects?

McLuhan said change in the media tended to produce anxiety. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, as the ascendance of television became an indisputable fact, people wondered whether that box in their living rooms was doing anything to them that they weren't aware of.

Today, we're even more deeply engaged with a different set of electronic boxes.  So are our minds free or secretly enslaved?

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