Bob Dobbs the greatest McLuhan scholar

Bob Dobbs is the only scholar who understands the implications of McLuhan patterns in all their extent; going beyond McLuhan’s patterns and presenting the last extension of human’s Non-Physical, by the iONic technologies.

“We’re all astronauts,

we’re all satellites

floating around.”


McLuhan Quotes

64/65 NEW MEDIA AND THE ARTS - media as archetypal and cliche, great history of European literature (Rabelais to Byron)

64/65 CYBERNETICS AND HUMAN CULTURE - electric grape joke, bilingual cat joke, Rimbaud, proprioceptive space of wigwam, the bomb, Kierkegaard, science fiction writers, it's always wrong joke, Hawthorne experiment, Telstar obsolesces, ecumenical and liturgical movements

65/66 THE PILOT - JJ's city as "pandora's box" - p.6, FW as greatest science fiction via languages - p.7

65/66 ELECTRONIC MAN AND THE END OF THE NEOLITHIC AGE - from Petrarch to Gibbon, silly Malthus - p.1, circuitry as flood-lighting (no flash light possible) - p.2, Pop Art -p.3, Cage's SILENCE and 10 thunders in FW - p.3, explains Emperor's new clothes - p.4, "Nature" caused by railways -p.4, teach-ins put the audience to work and brainwash the teachers - p.5, Hawthorne experiment - p.6, Eliot's PRUFROCK (first 3 lines) explains the 2 Romantic movements - p.'7, artist and scientist = criminals - p.7, James Bond and Wyndham Lewis on the "enemy" - p.7, JJ in 1922/myth/Cadmus/pun/Polack jokes/jazz and pop music/Fellini and Bergman/Lewis' double emotions - p.8, medium called "set" - p.9, acceptance of Bucky Fuller's "comprehensive thinking" - p.9, Carroll/Lobachevsky/flat land - p.9, TV turns previous environs into archetypal art forms - p.10, FW as showing the awakeful end of the unconscious (the end of collective dreaming back) which may not be healthy as a process - p.10, EGs prediction that "contract" is the search itself (not identity quest) in the unity of the exteriorized learning process of self-discovery - p.11

65/66 THE EMPEROR'S OLD CLOTHES - Pavlov and Ellul - p.1, good news (F)/bad news (G)/Nielsen ratings - p.2, Bond/Bogart/Rimbaud/Hemingway explore "shifting morals and society" (probing as transgression) = Poe's aesthetes (Dupin) were the first to use senses as probes - p.3, Pater's "gemlike flame" - p.3, visual bias creates C.P. Snow's 2 cultures, Einstein's visual bias - p.3, 18th C "realism" flipped by Symbolists "defining and controlling" interior landscape as "heuristic probes" - p.4, "stream of consciousness" pushed photo and cinematic flow into sensory interplay (Yeats quote on "ear" style) - p.4, airplane art, photo initiates "programming the environment" notion - p.5, systems engineering, Oceanus (not "Earth") - p.6, FW (Phoenix Playhouse) and archetypal reflex - p.7, "wireless" - p.8, planet as anti-environment/probe, Bucky Fuller and including the learning process in the environment itself-p.8, Aristotle's "mimesis" = making consciousness technologically, "objective correlative" (inclusive experiential control) - p.9, history of book's effect - p.10, AM's user-friendly nature, genius of "mass audience" vs. POBs - p.11, death of "ART" (Baudrillard replays this), AM and Kissinger/Control Tower, Incarnation replays stages of apprehension - p.12

65/66 CULTURE AND TECHNOLOGY (Sensory Profiling brochure) -Hildebrand and Remy de Gourmont (Vincent Sherry), Eliot (1920 essay) and SCRUTINY, "where the hand of man never set foot", Baudelaire/stages of apprehension/learning = Joyce's discovery?, art and technology gap gone, Eliot's effect of internal combustion engine on poetry, myth/learning process/creative process/life of forms for HCE, Centres pop up everywhere, sensory typology (F, "culture") and effect of environment (G,"technology"), much autonomy today

65/66 GUARANTEED INCOME - Goldwater, Ayn Rand, Giedion (art historian) on p.75, Poe and Baudelaire on new "audience work" on p.76, and how-to-live requiring new kind of genius on p.82


66/66 THE STRUCTURIST INTERVIEW - states his agenda for the artist (do me!) on p.65, has AM on p.66, tetrad-managers on p.67, and user-friendly AM on p.68

66/66 BRAVE NEW WORLD OF MM - 1984, future of the future is the present, Pop Art, obsolete pharmacist, Truman Capote, Oedipus, art of being ruled (Lewis), LSD, 19th C druggies, "silent sea", "gotta use words to talk to you...", FW as collective dream in which we're all involved, cliches, kids and the bomb, West goes East, education as brainwashing, punishment fits the crime

66/66 TV IN A NEW LIGHT - MM says TV is not an art form yet - p.91, Oedipus and Truman Capote - p.95, 1'V lines - p.100, sensory-profiling project in Toronto - p.101, hospitals don't cure - p.103, "safety media"/"safety science" - p.104, xerography and info-service - p.105, laser TV - p.106

66/67 Q&A ON FILM - Warhol (cinema verite), anti-'Marienbad", Godard, no jump-cutting of sound in films (Zappa lurking), pro-Dr. Zhivago - p.7, color TV and macula = tactile, Technicolor evokes erotic themes, the Western's out-of-doors scenery is anti-frame, anti-spectacle, good for TV, back-seat driving -p.8, movie and car (foot and eye), TV (hand and eye) = LSD = explore YOUR unconscious (an "archetypal world" - see FW, p.263), TV's scanning finger handles you and environs, TV is not flat screen/box/panel, Laser TV, Thomistic pattern -p.9, NFB's LABYRINTH at Expo'67 replays TV = LSD, French Canadians' "body percept" affected by TV, TV is an "Oriental spiritual instrument", "I used to think that we were engaged in putting consciousness outside as an environment" [movie?], racial unconscious is simultaneous happening - NOW & RETRIEVABLE, Newspaper and TV make all events archetypal, dateline on newspaper hides the GROUND, George Bernard Shaw quote on cinema vs. book in 1914 - p.10

66/67 MIKE WALLACE INTERVIEW - Canada's "cold fronts", Mallarme as new-media analyst, moral judgement is sin for Catholics, LSD and "metaphysical promiscuity", "Nobody Waved Goodbye", MM's books make kids feel superior to their professors, money is metaphor/translator, body percept, computers and recall/forgetting, Bergman and Fellini, Socrates as primitive non-literate, Emperor's new clothes, Hollywood as politics, curing cancer by TV, impeachment by TV?, TV is spiritual medium/yoga/Joyce's "light brigade", Volkswagen via TV, kids are grim and serious, Sensory Profile studies in Toronto for the last 3 or 4 years, "for the sake of decibel and Jezebel", books as "perpetual motion", user-friendly AM, kids get privacy by transistor radio rather than books, psychiatric coaches groaning, movie as "parody" but TV is not, Western Zen Buddhism/Beatles hairdo/LSD as "fringe benefits" of TV, Arabian Nights, program the environment for literacy without reading, stop beautifying junk yards

66/67 (and 69c) EDUCATION articles - 66/67 has prisons' roots on p.6 and my "mountain"/explorer symbol on p.11, 69c has great Internet and AM predictions on pp.111 and 115

66/67 UNDERSTANDING CANADA - touch as our primary sense, women/fashion/media, "enough is enough!"/neocons, LSD is racial unconscious, Gorgon, Mia Farrow, Russians, "put on" explained, Danny Kaye, puts down 20s, Pater, Balinese put us down, kids don't need to learn to read and write, kids and the bomb, Xerox, promiscuous youth, Eliot on his readers being correct, Canada, the racist South, separatism, the Scottish, Wisconsin revelation, Innis, Joyce et al. major influence on MM, lazy Canadians

66/67 MM ON LOVE - the Unconscious extended, newspaper creates a little distance, Kierkegaard, Hebrews on sex, no childhood in Shakespeare's day, Steiner and pornography, FW on clothing, Courtly Code, puts down LSD, more Kierkegaard, defines responsibility as "response", kids bugged by parents, Europeans resent marriage, shifting into the "spiritual domain", Beats reject "material values", Harvey Cox

67/67 THE NEW EDUCATION - destination syndrome, "Gestalt"/total awareness, how child learns language by probing totally, Peace Corps and CYC, Cardinal Newman's tutorial system returns, "hot" teach-ins, double takes, corporate budgets for education, Harvey Wheeler, decentralized families (socialized kids), executives as dropouts, myth/dream/fast-moving data/collage/transparency, FW (old poets), junkyard sign on Dundas Street, "sticks nix hick's pix", Bayeaux Tapestry, FW and LSD, growing up like royalty is our work, total environment/"Gestalt"

67/67 ENVIRONMENT AS PROGRAMMED HAPPENING - Eliot's "Prufrock" beginning about sky/patient, Expo'67, Claude Bernard, 2 Romantic movements, MM mentions "proprioceptive", D.H. Lawrence uses "tactile" (describes AM's sensitivity), Giedion***, Tyrwhitt/Williams/Bott on acoustic space, Egyptian "darkness is to space what silence is to sound", "cosmic humanism"/Worcester, Sophocles' Oedipus Rex is anti-Plato's Utopian Republic, Hall's 2 books on time and space, Robert Ardrey = MM, Canetti, X-ray as mosiac of crowd = myth, role = "convergence of several jobs", "leisure" seen as unemployment, joblessness and vacancy, Eliade's "eternal return" as "spinning mechanism", happenings express need to view total environment as work of art, outlines Giedion's 2 books to architect audience, Yeats' "emotion of multitude", fish fresh out of water think "this is where it's at".

67/68 THE FUTURE OF MORALITY - Jesus as New Word oralist, "deja vu", Plato and reincarnation, going from familiar to unfamiliar, FW, no rearview mirror on jet plane, HCE as astronautical, consciousness as fragmentary and exclusive/subconscious is inclusive/mythic, Oedipus Rex, Carothers, HCE/FW and Oedipus, subconscious as racial, feedback loop of circuitry, 2 kinds of communication studies, Oscar Wilde's Earnest, Nigel Dennis, R.D. Laing, silent "p" in Ptolemy, we have key to culture-creation as replay of tribal rituals and dramatizations, Mass as "making" (p.183), great Havelock quotes, Kierkegaard as first "making" existentialist/realist vs Hegel and Marx's confusion with matter, "sincerity" and "integrity" now only resonant

67/68 THE CAR AS TOY - car's future isn't rosy, Honda makes you feel the road, "like the miniskirt, exposure = involvement", "wraparound Volkswagen is a little German pavilion, Expo-style", Dichter is wrong because no sex in cars, no need for 20s back-to-front cap as lyrical statement - the act of driving is fulfillment enough

67/68 THE PASSWORD IS INVOLVEMENT - "little round school house", ordinary people rely on pattern-recognition, no childhood today - p.19, Expo'67 as X-ray, no "escapism" today/only "involvement" word, ads replace product, Catholic Church is confused, many flips like "culture is now our business", electronic engineers understand Joyce and Picasso - p.20, anti-LSD, anti-circuitry for the West, Dundas Street West sign shows how abstract art uses junkyards, kids discuss Pogo only outside the class, Expo'67 is avante-garde model of the future university/programmed teaching machine, New York World's Fair was wrong [Theall], Giedion made MM aware, Baudelaire discovered "the medium extends the senses", Hall's book (THE SILENT LANGUAGE) on time and culture, Lewis on THE ART OF BEING RULED ("pay attention to the environment"), rearview mirror effect is universal human habit - p.21

67/68 HOW CAN WE EQUIP OURSELVES FOR THE NEXT 30 YEARS? -schools are naturally in 19th C, no more need for teachers, endless panels now welcome all, the present terrifies people, Gorgon slayed only by mirror, only artists give you the new grammar, repetitive cliche vs. "art of discovery, art of invention, and art of direct awareness" - p.15, "cool" changes meaning today, electric power prefigures "cold fusion" effect, "to make discoveries all you have to do is challenge the situation or the speaker", "young people make breakthroughs in art, why not in science?", speed reading, matching yields to making (no errors anymore) -p.16, it's a completely NEW situation, Hans Selye on twilight-creativity interval, "leisure", anticipatory democracy, Caesar and the Gauls, Harvey Wheeler on democracy and dying, the Pill (end of sex, age, and gender) and the Bomb mean no boundaries, Utopias [1984?] and teachers, government as "service industry", government is obsolete, systems engineering [tetrad management?] bypasses all -p.17, daily electronic referendum on problems, guerilla pilot experiments ("nuclei") [my CHART], visual people are GEEKS today, Sensory Profile project/solution for GEEKS, multi-projectors show history of worlds in 20 minutes, systems engineering again, "continuing on" exists only in visual space, individual creates his/her own world - total autonomy (end of identity cards), "I was very lucky to meet Giedion, Lewis, and Joyce" [?], "work of great artists is shocking" - p.18

From the Distant Early Warning (DEW LINE) card deck

notes on The DEW LINE Newsletter (1968-70)

Bob Dobbs’ McLuhan notes

You probably think machines are this mechanical, inorganic thing.

When you realize that they’re alive and they’re acting with earlier machines – speech being an earlier machine – then you’d see how organic machines are.


machines are running the 20th century.

The Chemical Body is what most people consider to be their “physical body.”

The dominant model for this is the product of Western science since the telegraph.

The Astral Body is what pervades all cultures - the belief there is more to our makeup than the Chemical Body. It is a huge storehouse of religious and spiritual energy.

The third organ is the TV Body - the repository of historical one-way broadcasting.

The fourth is the Chip Body - the mutating warehouse of digital omni-directional media.

The fifth is the Mystery Body - what we’re still excavating and whose lineaments we cannot fully assess yet, if ever. We now know it’s made up of the previous four bodies but we don’t know what more we will discover about its constituents, affects, and effects.

The Android Meme is the resultant of the interplay,

violent and ecstatic,

of the first four bodies.

McLuhan said our technologies are NATURE,

not only that

they’re extensions of our senses and faculties.

The tetrad-managers at the NSA

used to manage the global theatre of the hardware economy through what I call the “cloning of ESP.”

Today it’s run on abuse value, not traditional use or exchange values. So it’s open and vulnerable to any ambitious, hijacking playmates of cities, nations, or planets.

Inventory of Bob Dobb's personal McLuhan archives

The pentad-managers - digital technology come alive - manage the Android Meme.

They are inside us in the most intimate tactile sense. They allow us to think we are in control where self-entertainment is the new yoga. They allow us to have a voluntary relationship with the old cloned-ESP environment. Humanity has never been so EXCITED, although we cover it up with a colossal patina of ersatz boredom.

The Android Meme is the digital phase of our 20th Century technology.

The Android Meme allows you to speak back to it and to edit it.

Like the medium of speech, it’s interactive,


and subsequently – for the perception of humans –

it’s organic.

It seems to be alive – in the sense of extremely relevant to and involving our lives. And it is! “Finnegans Wake” understands this feature of electric media.

McLuhan accepted technology in the sense that he knows it is us.

He understood that mechanical, pre-electric technology appeared to humans to be inorganic, alienating and mechanical. The 20th Century had been a period of shock and adjustment to the electric fact that technology is, and has always been, an integral part of our sense life.

But McLuhan didn’t accept the unconscious use of our senses. He advocated a new yoga, personal and collective, for encountering our shape-shifting selves.

McLuhan believed that we should use all our senses and their mutations.

The 20th Century has been an era of the extension of the kinetic sense (movies and autos), the proprioceptive sense (computers), and the acoustic sense (radio), but primarily the tactile sense (telephone, television, and telecommunications – the interplay of all analog media inside the satellite environment).

I’m the only man alive since I’m the only one who knows what’s going on.

When the ring of satellites, starting with Sputnik in 1957, went around the planet, it turned the planet into a theater.

It turned the radio, telegraph, telephone and TV environment, the global village, into a global theater with a proscenium arch around it.

I consider the satellite the end of the analogue phase of electronic media.

I’ve attempted to update McLuhan by enunciating the effects of the post-satellite phase of digital technology - what I call the era of “voluntary ESP” (ESP being defined as multi-sensuous, mental dance).

McLuhan interpreted electricity as an extension of the tactile “sense”

tactility not actually being a particular, specialized sensory mode but the interplay itself of the sensory actions.

So all the older media as extensions of our particular senses were fleeting while electrically-extended tactility integrated them as their constitutive form or medium.

McLuhan wrote in the tradition of learned satire, often called Menippean or Varronian satire, a kind of serious literary medicine.

Wyndham Lewis once wrote,

“Laughter is again an anti-toxin of the first order.”

His essays, “The Greatest Satire is Non-Moral” and “Is Satire Real?”, were important introductions for McLuhan to the Menippean genre.


when the satellites started to happen.

He knew it was all over because we had extended the planet; we extended beyond it, our individual senses. That was a huge ending of humanity.

The telegraph is the beginning of discarnate writing.

McLuhan defines the telegraph as the electrification of writing, or the simultaneity of writing, and e-mail is the satellite version of the telegraph.

That’s why my chart begins with the telegraph.

How did you meet Marshall McLuhan?

I was sent by Reinhard Gehlen, a friend of my employer’s brother, from Paris to investigate this writer whom Mr. Gehlen found compelling. I had read very little by Marshall McLuhan when I first met him.

McLuhan accepted new technology as inevitable

but he didn’t recommend accepting its hypnosis and our consequent numbness that encouraged us to destroy the best achievements of the past.

Once you get into the Android Meme phase,

especially with VCRs, reruns, and the ability to replay everything,

you’ve got a new metaphysical problem for humans.

McLuhan said, the biggest metaphysical challenge was the instant replay,

because all experience is an instant replay – speech replays experience, all media are instant replays – but when you have the instant replay as an external cognitive process, it’s a metaphysically confusing time, because it’s the beginning of technology replaying what we did to ourselves back to us.

McLuhan used the term “language” for all our technologies and the environments they create.

So the printing press, he called it “the Gutenberg Galaxy,” was a new language with a visual bias that altered the old language of speech and body movement, the kinetic language and other languages of the senses.

When the electric age came in, we retrieved the acoustic and tactile senses in the new language of electricity and its environment.

So the electric environment and the print environment are new languages as opposed to the old speech language.

All media, all these means of human expression, are languages. So there are different types of language.

A new environment erases the image of the culture which is based on previous technologies.

Therefore, the culture has to strive to create a new image, a new identity in relation to the effects of the new environment, or retrieve an old image through violence.

Both identity strategies are violent, but to retrieve an old image is pretty hard compared to dealing with the new effect, and to find a new image which you can’t imagine, or how to find it or what to base it on, is difficult because you are operating in response to a satellite environment that is largely invisible.

“Advertising advertises advertising”

means that all electric media now are mythic stages in themselves, and by just continuing to function, they keep their own mode operating as propaganda that people are forced to adjust to.

All major media do that.

Advertising is like the United Nations of the interactions of all these media. It offers an anthropomorphic satire on each medium carving out its space. And there is boundless space in the electric age for each medium to work in, and to vibrate within.

I know personally the NSA uses McLuhan and uses this information to modulate what I call tetrad management.

They foresee these effects and they include them. They use McLuhan’s book “Laws of Media.” The counterculture should be studying “Laws of Media” because it’s used on them. I’m not saying they should learn McLuhan and become orthodox McLuhanites, I’m saying the opposition is using McLuhan’s material to orchestrate society.

I would tell kids that creativity is obsolete,

and then I would tell them that when something’s obsolete, it works.

In other words, it can be used, it’s no longer the real hidden dynamic on your consciousness. The hidden environment is always invisible.

So, by saying creativity is obsolete, I mean that it’s not the real constituent factor in your consciousness.

The hidden environment is what’s really motivating everybody,

and creating a lot of obsession or neurosis, and the stress of life is always caused by the new invisible environment.

Therefore, an antidote or an anaesthetic to that is the past environments, but to use them as props.

Under electronic conditions we project a pattern-of-information and search for affinities with it.

This is what McLuhan means when he says “the user is the content”.

There is a constant identity, or reinforcement, quest for our image (pattern-of-information).

The old markers of identity revolving around one’s Chemical Body are anemic compared to the charisma of the information media one consumes and produces.

Communication of the NEW is a miracle

but not impossible.

Language communicates beyond or before understanding.

That's the amazing thing about “the language” – language being the most fundamental of all technologies.


What you’re saying is all very interesting. But I had trouble understanding only about half of what you said.


No, you can’t understand what I said because I'm speaking about something that’s not communicable.

I am using English,

an obsolete medium of expression…

I am presently running a “factory” that may be classed as the most profoundly productive laboratory on the planet.

What my colleagues and I are creating seems to not only turn all “known” principles in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Medicine upside-down, but portends shifting their managers into a vast tableau of embarrassment throughout many of the knowledge industries.

This may explain the slight tone of arrogance some may have perceived in my comments.

I prefer to blame the tone on confidence.

Dr Carolyn Dean & Bob Dobbs

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