Thursday, May 23, 2013

Future Shock revisited .

Future Shock is a book written by the futurist Alvin Toffler in 1970. In the book, Toffler defines the term "future shock" as a certain psychological state of individuals and entire societies. His shortest definition for the term is a personal perception of "too much change in too short a period of time". We don't have flying cars (give it a decade), fusion power (hey, 4 years), robotic house-servants (2040--you'll live to see it if you take your fish oil),  or rocket pants (disappointing)--but we do have something else: Twitter.  It seems to me that our 'society' has been accelerating at such a pace that people are going on 'overload' . While we have all this wonderful technology our American government can't no longer glue it together  , and along with the invention of the Internet our own privacy is assured no more. We all now have cyber tracks that we google daily .  Which tracks our credit rating and so on. We  do electronic transactions  that soon paper money will be replaced .The House recently posed the 37th vote to repeal ObamaCare (for a few reasons--one of which is to allow House freshmen to tell their constituents they tried--but another is, perhaps, to have some subtle psychological impact on the acceptance of the law) and, of course, it didn't go anywhere. But this time around Darrel Issa (a leading Republican critic of the administration) encouraged a particular hashtag meme, #ObamaCareInThreeWords, which encouraged participants (detractors) to describe the ACA in three pithy words. Here are two recent articles (not about the twitter war) that take on Obama and the scandals. We are now so numb to our American political system there are many of us that just don't care any more . Our society is bombard with violence , pretty sure that there is some pathological twist how it impends children . It  too has become the norm . We sit and watch our wages become smaller and smaller while the cost of our basic needs goes higher and higher.  The big bosses decide it’s in their best interest to make the job of two or three people into one job, so you are stretched to your limit to do the work of two or sometimes three people, but you are never paid more for your work.  You pray you don’t get sick, or your child does not become sick, for a sick day could mean not being able to have enough money for your rent and basic bills.  You have to work 2 jobs to meet the demands of having a roof over your head.  You live one paycheck away from sleeping on the street.Unfortunately, America hasn't changed much at all- from the beginning it's always been the rich vs the poor- We think all this angst and bad politics and injustices and economic inequality is NEW- It ain't new. The debt crisis has also spread to nearly every state as 46 states out of 50 states are on the verge of bankruptcy and many of our cities are going brokeDetroit is the epitome of a Third World city. America’s infrastructure is collapsing as evidenced by the pitiful condition of our roads which are quickly obtaining Third World status.  Toffler argued that society is undergoing an enormous structural change, a revolution from an industrial society to a "super-industrial society". This change overwhelms people, he believed, the accelerated rate of technological and social change leaving people disconnected and suffering from "shattering stress and disorientation"—future shocked. Toffler stated that the majority of social problems are symptoms of future shock. In his discussion of the components of such shock he popularized the term "information overload." Currently we have 'misinformation overload' as political scandals go,people in our society are now  feeling the disorientation shelled out by the news media . Now nothing is ever the same . Welcome to the future!

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