I had this thought the other day. I don’t know if it qualifies as an insight or not, but it had that “aha” quality about it that thoughts sometimes have.
To find out what a conventional technology does, you turn it on. To find out what a technology of communication does, you turn it off.
You discover the extent to which you have come to depend on technology when it goes down. That’s when you realize the degree to which it’s become a part of the fabric of daily life. It always comes as a bit of a shock to me just how much a technology outage feels. Being cut off really is a feeling. It’s a strange, gnawing absence. I’m reminded of the scene in Wages of Fear where he scratches at his amputated leg. As if to prove McLuhan right, our awareness of this absence shows that these technologies really do exend our nervous systems.