Originally Posted by Raul GS
Notice that in your whole description not once did you try to argue that the sound (i.e. music) was more "real" or "immersive" (i.e. like being there) in AM radio as compared to your stereo, and there is a simple reason why, because you clearly know that is not the case (unless we are talking about some seriously poorly designed stereo). The rest of the explanation no one is questioning (i.e. that we attempt to fill in the blanks as media gets colder, and that can increase our participation). Your conclusion that increased participation translates into a higher level of recreation of events is what clearly being questioned. It is basically nonsensical to argue that colder media makes things seem more real, otherwise improved audio reproduction would not increase the experience of audible events (make them seem increasingly more real as the technology improves) and the development towards better forms of reproduction would have died before it truly began.
PS as I stated, I don't think McLuhan makes the argument you make, nor was it his intent. Perhaps you are placing too much of yourself in your reading of his concept of cold and hot media
"Reality" exists in the mind (consciousness) far more than is generally acknowledged, which is why a dream can be as real as so-called concious reality, and why delusional personalities are convinced they see and hear things that for the rest of us are not there (but who is to say who is right?). And it goes without saying that reality for some people includes gods and angels (or flying saucers) while for others those are just superstitions. If a spooky AM radio program that fires the imagination makes my pulse race more than watching a HD TV program of the same genre with 5.1 surround sound, then yes it has indeed created a more "real" experience. Of course the vast majority of posters here never had the pleasure of listening to those old radio programs and so understandably find it hard to believe how engaging and "real" they were to listeners then. Is it possible that today's more technicologically capable generation is less comfortable with (and less capable of) using their imagination? I don't know the answer, but an expert on child psychology (John Rosemond) seems to reach similar conclusions. Here are a few excerpts from his book "New Parent Power:"
"Watching televsion is a 'passivity,' not an activity. It does not properly engage human potential, whether it be motor, intellectual, creative, social, sensory, verbal or emotional." (my note: TV is McLuhan's example of a 'hot' medium).
"Joseph Chilton Pearce, author of Magical Child
, writes that play is the most important of all childhood activities. It is through active, imaginative
play, Pearce says, that children develop 'creative competence,' or mastery of their environment."
"In his landmark book The Disappearance of Childhood
, Neil Postman makes the point that mastery of traditional literacy skills (reading ((my note: McLuhan's 'cool' medium)) and writing) is important to maintaining an important - nay vital - distinction between adulthood and childhood. Television and other (my note: 'hot') electrical media, Postman says, erase this distinction and render it meaningless."
I don't want to hijack this thread any further, but I just wanted to explain why I think it is important for the use of imagination to more fully experience a subjective artistic event, such as listening to music. And, to sum up, IMO, two ch listening requires more imagination to fully enjoy than surround, and the greater use of imagination offers as much to a "real" experience (when listening to music) as using less or none at all. But if today's younger listeners have not been allowed to more fully develop their imagination and sense of play, then that would explain why they find it so hard to understand why an older generation (me) can (at times) so enjoy a seemingly lesser format.