Marshall McLuhan contends that the electric media, television in particular, have given Americans the means of instant, total awareness both of themselves, especially of their unconscious or subliminal states, and of others, who may differ in skin color or points of view but with whom total social involvement is now not only desirable, but absolutely necessary in the ontological sense of the word. However, though television may have made us more conscious of our unconscious and more aware of the dynamic relationship between other individuals' well-being and our own, the mutual feeding and forming and mutilating of one another's psyches is a process as old as mankind itself and one which had been recognized long before McLuhan's observations.

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