The Future: 1972

Future Shock

Future Shock

It’s common for folks like myself and the readers of this blog to frequent sites and browse magazines filled with articles about leaps in information processing, advances in artificial intelligence, and the future of human/machine interfacing. It’s the 21st century after all, and even though many of our institutions and officials are woefully culture-bound to reality paradigms that were cast aside many decades ago, the rest of us are living in the future. We are busy helping to define what tomorrow will be instead of allowing ourselves to be overwhelmed by perceived, pessimistic inevitabilities.

We’re used to these ideas and this kind of thinking in 2015, but we can also feel the anxiety of trying to maintain a sense of self and place when the very nature of information seems to be changing, and changing everything we understand about ourselves and the world around us.

Some folks saw this coming almost 50 years ago, and you can watch a movie about it. Here’s the skinny from a YouTube page about Future Shock

‘Future Shock’ is a documentary film based on the book written in 1970 by sociologist and futurist Alvin Toffler. Released in 1972, with a cigar-chomping Orson Welles as on-screen narrator, this piece of futurism is darkly dystopian and oozing techno-paranoia… A great opening features a montage of car crashes and civil unrest intercut with two figures walking in a green field (while creepy synthesizers play in the background) who are soon revealed to be automatons with creepy robot faces — a nice metaphor for the fear of the unrecognizable, cold, and chaotic future society that Toffler thought we were all headed for…

So what exactly is “Future Shock”? Sociologist and futurist Alvin Toffler explains: “We may define future shock as the distress, both physical and psychological, that arises from an overload of the human organism’s physical adaptive systems and its decision-making processes… Put more simply, future shock is the human response to over-stimulation…”

“Toffler’s main argument is that humanity (as of 1970, when the book was written), is in the midst of an enormous shift from an industrial society to a super-industrial society; this new society will be characterized by such things as an acceleration of images, words, ideas, and technologies that could possibly overwhelm mankind, resulting in a serious disconnect when these new ideas reach their fruition (if not well before then). This disconnect is ‘future shock’, an inability to process the enormous amounts of information and change associated with the super-industrial revolution.

This is Future Shock

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JoeNolan

Joe Nolan was born under a bad sign on June 13th in Detroit, Michigan in the last Metal Year of the Dog. Polymath, provocateur, inter-media artist, his tell-tale signs have turned up in music, visual art, journalism, poetry, fiction, video and film. A double Gemini, his interests range from the pharmacology of phenomenology to fly fishing; from mysticism to mixed martial arts; from chaos science to chaos magick. Joe Nolan's Insomnia blog republishes to some of the most read counter-culture sites on the web and the Coincidence Control Network podcast which he hosts has been downloaded more than half-a-million times.He is recording his fourth CD in Nashville, Tennessee where he lives to the east of the Cumberland river on a little wooded lot dubbed Bohemian Walnut Grove.

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