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By Marshall T. Poe

A background of Communications advances a conception of media that explains the origins and impression of other types of verbal exchange - speech, writing, print, digital units and the web - on human historical past within the long-term. New media are 'pulled' into common use by way of extensive old traits 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 really new in regards to the net, what's now not, and the place it's taking us.

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Sample text

They exist, but they are not entirely of this world: you cannot sense “man,” “tree,” and “cloud” in the same way you can that man, that tree, or that cloud. Plato drew a reasonable conclusion, so reasonable that he could not have been the first and was certainly not the last to draw it: words, he said, must come from some other “higher” world that we cannot sense, a world of perfect abstract forms. When we use words, then, we are interacting with that other, spiritual world – there was no way around it.

This being so, any explanation of the rise of talking must be couched in terms of natural selection, and that means the origins of talking afford us no opportunity to test our “pull” theory of media origins. Its first trail must wait for writing, the first invented medium. For now, we need to talk about the evolution of talking. Why did we, uniquely among all animals, evolve the ability to talk? The answer may seem obvious. We came to talk because it was to our evolutionary advantage to talk. And this is true.

If a fight ensued, there was no telling who would get the better of whom. 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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