On identity

"Our children in a twentieth-century information environment have to process more data than any human being in any previous culture of the world. Our children from early infancy are engaged in extraordinarily hard work, and that work is mainly just growing, growing up because to grow up in a modern electronic environment is a fantastically complex and difficult job. It's also a job which threatens to deprive people of identity, the personal concept. One of the peculiarities of an electronic environment is that people become so profoundly involved in each other that they lose that sense of private identity. This is one of the peculiar cruxes of our time that people, precisely because they become profoundly involved in one another in an all-at-once simultaneous field of happenings, then begin to lose their sense of private identity because identity used to be connected with simple classification and fragmentation and non-involvement. In a world of profound involvement, identity seems to evaporate."

-- Marshall McLuhan, The Medium is the Massage