Implosion is a reversal of the explosion tendency in the West's institutions, associated with mechanical media.[1] It is caused by the instantaneous speed of electric media, such as radio waves and Internet communication.

Implosion is related to the concept of myth, because the myth represents reality is as "an instant vision of a complex process that ordinarily extends over a long period of time." Whereas mechanical technology led to seeing the world as a fragmented series of steps, the instantaneous speed of electric technology leads to seeing the world as a unified whole. However, most people continue to think in a linear way, even though they live in a way affected by myth.[2]

Implosion relates to how complex fields of thought are studied. Western thought treats them in a linear way, even when it acknowledges that the topic is not linear. By contrast, Eastern thought sets out the problem and solution at the outset, then retraces the topic again and again in a spiral. McLuhan writes that this process is necessary for the study of media in particular, and his works certainly follow this approach.[3]

Both explosion and implosion result in violent change, but implosion is the more violent of the two by far.[4]


  • McLuhan writes that our concern with population growth is not about the explosion of numbers, but about the proximity these numbers share by virtue of instantaneous electric media. Therefore, it is a matter of implosion.[5]
  • The European Common Market is an example of implosion or fusion caused by electric media.[6]


  1. UM, p. 35
  2. UM, p. 25
  3. UM, p. 26
  4. UM, p. 50
  5. UM, p. 35
  6. UM, p. 50