I found this interesting video here


"The global village is a world in which you don’t necessarily have harmony. You have extreme concern with everybody else’s business and much involvement in everybody else’s life. It’s a sort of Ann Landers column writ large… huge involvement in everybody else’s affairs. So the Global Village is as big as a planet and as small as the village post office."

Marshall McLuhan

So my understanding is that "harmony" means every chord manages their own, while a global village everyone is connected.

But "harmony" has another meaning, if everyone creates a sound by random it's likely only noise, everyone have to adapt specific sound patterns (e.g. the triad C-E-G ) in order to create "harmony". So in this sense, to create harmony, you do have to concern others.

So is the word "harmony" used properly in the above video context? Or am I missing something here?

Can anyone share more about the usage of "harmony" in daily English?

  • McLuhan's usage is just the same standard metaphorical sense as, for example, living in harmony, where it simply means in cooperation, not in conflict. It's excessively "literal" overanalysis to extend the metaphor into a statement about how that "internal harmony" might be perceived by others outside the "harmonious relationship". Besides which, everyone is already in the global village (we'd be part of the orchestra playing in harmony, not the audience listening to a harmonious performance). – FumbleFingers Oct 6 '13 at 15:50

I concur with FumbleFingers. Oxford defines "harmony," in this context, as: -the state of being in agreement or concord: man and machine in perfect harmony. Generally, a village is a tight-knit group who tend to live in peace and unity with their fellow villagers which helps them avoid ostracism.

McLuhan is collectively grouping the world's population as one village metaphorically but, practically speaking, the geographical distance and separation of the world's "villagers" reduces the commonality of customs, beliefs and unity usually found in small villages.

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In this example, "harmony" extends the musical meaning - when instruments or singers are "in harmony", the sound is pleasant, not discordant. When physical systems (or societal systems) are "in harmony", they're all working together, pulling in the same direction.

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