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Cultural Zone - Frequencies
Nov 18, 2009 at 01:14 PM


McLuhan's Sticky Culture

A radically different concept of vortices - different, that is, from either the scientific or the New Age perspective - was used by the famous Canadian intellectual and cultural analyst Marshall McLuhan. That is the concept of a vortex as a cultural zone, gyre or envelope of energy which sweeps people within its boundaries into itself, in effect under its spell. McLuhan thus used the vortex as a tool of social critique - showing how certain cultural "surfaces" are so magnetic that they define the reality of those gazing upon them. Such a surface is presented by television, which by the very structure of its ownership, the surface of attractions it presents, co-opts the viewer into incorporating, as part of his/her reality, certain ideas and not others - hence McLuhan's famous statement: "the medium is the message." Culture is "sticky" stuff, in today's internet terms. 

It is easy to dismiss McLuhan's views as too absturse, until one realizes that he was working in subtle matter and articulating dynamics of energy which was just beginning to be perceived. His work actually "instantiates" (to use a software development term) awareness of thought energy and the magnetism of mental substance -- everything that is concealed by our awareness of the "thing" instead of the energies which compose it and which it projects like a sticky substance for our attention. The perceived object eclipses the process and mental flows that went into its assembly. Perceiving these mental vibrations directly presents a second reality, an inner envelope to things, which is a result of concentration, intention and other types of focusing. From a brain chemistry point of view also, the perceived thing is assembled -- it is the result of a process which is not noticed because the mind focused on externals ignores everything else, and prefers the thing. 

This is important to understanding vortex energy. It is not just that something is "broadcast" by or at the vortex location -- someone receptive to that vibration, who can add awareness and perspective from a larger context, who brings the culture in her eyes, is essential to the experience. The audience instantiates the art. Vortex energy is a perceived energy (which makes it more and not less real), and it truly is the case as Bishop (George) Berkeley stated in the 18th C.: esse est percipi -- "to be is to be perceived." Without this perspective, it is quite difficult to understand how man-made structures such as the Great Pyramid, Saint-Sulpice or the Cathedral of the Transfiguration could become transmission stations of occult energies: but it is the cultural zone, the mind-stuff whose body McLuhan perceived, which make it possible. 


[ image: Howard Weingarden, American artist. "Hidden Vortices," 2002. Used by permission of the artist. © Howard Weingarden, All Rights Reserved. For information on the artist's other works, please email basyevortex | at | yahoo.com ]



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