Knowing effects before they occur

In a review which originally appeared in the Winnipeg Free Press, McLuhan specified:

One of the results of accelerated change and innovation has been the recognition of the need for study of effects. As our environment tends to be more and more constituted by information everything has an effect on everything without delay. The entire social web becomes as sensitive and nervous as the stock-market, or the front page. The result is that it becomes necessary to know effects before they occur. This, in turn, requires a new kind of study of whatever is going on. (‘Alarums in a Brave New World’, Review of Cyborg: Evolution of the Superman, by D. S. Halacy, Winnipeg Free Press, December 11, 1965, 73)

But when “everything has an effect on everything without delay” another sense of time emerges that cuts across clock time and its “before”. In this other simultaneous sense of time, the synchronic, the understanding of causes emerges as anew possibility”:

Survival indicates that we grasp by anticipation the inherent causes (…) of the electronic media in all their cultural configurations and make a fully conscious choice of strategy in education accordingly. (…) W
e need prescience of the full causal powers latent in our new media (…). A kind of alchemical foreknowledge of all the future effects of any new medium is possible. Under electronic conditions, when all effects are accelerated in their mutual collision and emergence, such anticipation of consequence is basic need as well as new possibility(‘Electronic Revolution: Revolutionary Effects of New Media’, Understanding Me, 5, 8)

Concern with effect rather than meaning is a basic change of our electric time, for effect involves the total situation, and not a single level of information movement. (Understanding Media, 26)

ESP Is Old Hat When Effects Precede Causes
. The patterns of formerly hidden processes now begin to obtrude on every hand. Prescience, prophetic vision, and artistic awareness are no longer needed to establish an understanding of the most secret causes of personal and social processes. Mere electric speed-up makes X-ray awareness natural. (193)