A History of Communications : Media and Society from the by Marshall T. Poe

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By Marshall T. Poe

A historical past of Communications advances a thought of media that explains the origins and effect of other types of conversation - speech, writing, print, digital units and the net - on human background within the long-term. New media are 'pulled' into common use by way of large old developments and those media, as soon as in frequent use, 'push' social associations and ideology in predictable instructions. This view permits us to determine for the 1st time what's actually new in regards to the web, what's no longer, and the place it truly is taking us.

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Humans are specially attuned to sense things that are out of the ordinary. Each of us has in our heads a kind of probabilistic model of the world. As 32 HOMO LOQUENS we perceive new things, we unconsciously compare them to the model and update it. Only really unusual things are likely to come into our conscious minds, but they will do so reflexively. Completely ordinary things, like the fact that there is a red car on the road in front of us, are not even consciously registered. More unusual things, like the fact that the red car is swerving slightly, might draw our passing attention.

The listener, therefore, cannot directly verify the truth of the speaker’s claims. Speakers know this, so they will often “gin up” the relevance of what they report, and sometimes they will just lie. Advertisers take advantage of the first of these rhetorical strategies, and con men use the second. The only means a listener has to check the relevance and veracity of a speaker’s report is to probe it while it is being related. In practice, this means testing it for logical consistency (the car can’t be red and blue), testing it for empirical consistency (the car can’t fly), testing it for relevance (a driverless car must be judged unusual).

And even if the Big Man triumphed and his foe were silenced or denied the right to listen, his victory would probably be temporary, for his foe would live to talk another day. The Big Man could permanently quiet a loquacious critic or overly attentive listener 38 HOMO LOQUENS by killing him or her, but that too would bring serious repercussions. In hunter-gather bands, murder was strongly discouraged: almost everyone was, after all, related to everyone else (if distantly) and no one was really expendable.

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