We examine the spiral structure of the thinking and the work of Marshall McLuhan, which we believe will provide a new way of viewing McLuhan’s work. In particular, we believe that the way he reversed figure and ground, reversed content and medium, reversed cause and effect, and the relationship he established between the content of a new medium and the older media it obsolesced all contain a spiral structure going back and forth in time. Finally, the time structure of his Laws of Media in which a new medium obsolesced an older medium, while retrieving an even older medium and then when pushed far enough flipped into a still newer medium has the feeling of a spiral. We will also examine the spiral structure of the thinking and work of those thinkers and artists that most influenced McLuhan such as Vico, Hegel, Marx, Freud, Joyce, TS Eliot, Wyndham Lewis and the Vorticism movement.
Keywords: spiral; McLuhan; reversal; figure/ground; Laws of Media; media; environment/anti-environment; cause; effect
Pruska Oldenhof, I., & Logan, R. (2017). The spiral structure of Marshall McLuhan’s thinking. Philosophies, 2(2), 9.
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Philosophy of and the Philosophical Roots of Marshall McLuhan and the Media Ecology School)