The alphabet effect that showed that codified law, alphabetic writing, monotheism, abstract science and deductive logic are interlinked, first proposed by McLuhan and Logan (1977), is revisited. Marshall and Eric McLuhan’s (1988) insight that alphabetic writing led to the separation of figure and ground and their interplay, as well as the emergence of visual space, are reviewed and shown to be two additional effects of the alphabet. We then identify more additional new components of the alphabet effect by demonstrating that alphabetic writing also gave rise to (1) Duality, and (2) reductionism or the linear sequential relationship of causes followed by effects. We then review McLuhan’s (1962) claim that electrically configured information reversed the dominance of visual space over acoustic space and led to the reversals of (1) cause and effect, and (2) figure and ground. We then demonstrate that General System Theory first formulated by Ludwig von Bertalanffy (1968), which also includes chaos theory, complexity theory and emergence (aka emergent dynamics) and Jakob von Uexküll’s (1926) notion of umwelt also entail the reversal of many aspects of the alphabet effect such as the reversals of (1) cause and effect, and (2) figure and ground.
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