by George Ulmer
In his article “Introduction: Electracy,” George Ulmer explains that Plato and Aristotle are the base of everything, and that everything has been built off, developed from, and mutated together from this base. To Ulmer, the base is orality, or what is verbally communicated. Since, two other “breakthroughs” have been developed: literacy (the use of writing) and electracy (the use of electronic media). All of these theories are constantly building off of one another, and it is important to realize that they cannot be understood without understanding all of them.
Today, we learn the most about a thing’s history by going to school, where we learn people’s reasoning and the methodology they used to build off of other things. There are two things you must take into account when trying to learn about something. The first is heretics, which is the use of theory for the invention of new discourses. In order for things to be created, you must understand how to develop off of something else. The second is hermeneutics, which is the use of theory for interpretation of existing discourses. This means that you must understand why something was developed so that you can understand how it can actually affect you.
When people are working to create something, they must take into account what counts as real for a civilization, or what truly matters to them. This means that emotional ties must be made, but that also for something to be successful, it must be appealing to the eye (aesthetic). You need to take the following into account: is it right or wrong (orality), true or false (literacy), and pleasing or painful (electracy).
Overall though, human creativity and cultural productivity are the driving forces behind creation, and tragedy is what determines how successful something is in a society. Overall, Ulmer concludes that “the institutional practices of electracy have been developed from the potential of entertainment,” and it is the “historical analogy [that] helps us appreciate the potential of entertainment.” Without understanding this, nothing can truly be understood.