Tetrads: McLuhan’s Laws and SQL

I have been going over all the past material in this blog as I am now working on my book. One of the things I am clearing up is my understanding of McLuhan’s Laws of Media known as Tetrads. All that McLuhan discovered and I don’t mean to diminish his work is discover the four manipulations that are possible with any form of media including data.

McLuhan’s four Laws of Media were:

  1. Retrieve
  2. Enhance
  3. Reverse
  4. Obsolesce

The four correspoding manipulations are:

  1. Select
  2. Insert
  3. Update
  4. Delete

Please dismiss any past correlations I made between the Manipulations and Laws of Media with the Six Interrogatives.

7 Responses to “Tetrads: McLuhan’s Laws and SQL”

  1. mcluhan prophecy Says:

    Interesting except that the four laws of media are all at once, simultaneously in action. And particularly obsolesce does not mean getting rid of, but operationally speaking it means proliferation. Think of cars they have reached the obsolescent
    stage but are with us more and more. The reversal here is that roads become (reverse) parking lots (heavy traffic).
    The tetrad is a poetical device.

  2. grant czerepak Says:

    Your interpretation reveals your lack of understanding of the four manipulations. In a real database nothing is deleted it is simply flagged as no longer contributing. And in a system the four manipulations can be occurring simultaneously simply on different parts of the system.

    As far as the tetrad being a poetical device that is a significant misunderstanding of McLuhan’s work. We are talking about the real effects of media. This was the only means that McLuhan could come up with to present a four dimensional concept on a two dimensional media.

  3. mcluhan prophecy Says:

    I was referring to Tetrads.
    The significance of poetic device (and MM was an artist not a scientist) is meant to convey that the laws of media need to be contextualized or grounded. When one focuses on one node at a time the ground remains hidden. The laws are relational and all at once. That’s basic McLuhan. Til him we looked at figures and not ground. The laws are meant to solve the figure ground problems of analysis,
    I think. Take any artifact apply the the laws and you’ll end up with an understanding of the gap or interplay amongst the laws.

  4. grant czerepak Says:

    We seem to be talking past each other. If I understand you correctly it seems obvious to me that you don’t understand my explanation of manipulations and I don’t understand your explanation of tetrads. But we are really talking about the same thing.

  5. mcluhan prophecy Says:

    Well let’s let it be. But I admit to not being much enthralled with the LOM except as one tool among many,

  6. Ben Udell Says:

    I just found your blog while googling. I don’t know how I missed it before. I’m quite interested in tetrads, tetrachotomies, etc. If you want to take a look, then a good place might be “What of these other fours?” http://tetrast.blogspot.com/2005/07/what-of-these-other-fours.html. (If you have a Mac, Firefox or IE is best – a lot of tables at my site.)

    I’ll review your tetrad posts and maybe post some comments on them. The “many-to-many,” “one-to-many,” etc., interest me.

  7. grant czerepak Says:

    Hello Ben,

    I would recommend exploring what I have discovered as tetrads as well as hexads. My understanding continues to evolve.

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