All situations are composed of an area of attention [figure] and a very much larger (subliminal) area of inattention [ground] ….Figures rise out of, and recede back into, ground….for example, at a lecture, the attention will shift from the speaker’s words to his gestures, to the hum of the lighting or street sounds, or to the feel of the chair or a memory or association or smell, each new figure alternatively displaces the others into ground…The ground of any technology is both the situation that gives rise to it as well as the whole environment (medium) of services and disservices that the technology brings with it. These are side effects and impose themselves willy-nilly as a new form of culture.
"Don't tell me what's in the books. I've read them. Tell me what you've learned that you didn't already know.Then, we may both learn something new."
But I've never presented such explorations as revealed truth. As an investigator, I have no fixed point of view, no commitment to any theory -- my own or anyone else's. As a matter of fact, I'm completely ready to junk any statement I've ever made about any subject if events don't bear me out, or if I discover it isn't contributing to an understanding of the problem. The better part of my work on media is actually somewhat like a safe-cracker's. I don't know what's inside; maybe it's nothing. I just sit down and start to work. I grope, I listen, I test, I accept and discard; I try out different sequences -- until the tumblers fall and the doors spring open.