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Technology, immediacy, and coping with ‘presentism’

"Present Shock," by Douglas Rushkoff

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Have you ever been annoyed by someone who answered a text in the middle of the conversation? In Douglas Rushkoff’s new book, “Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now,” Rushkoff believes that this is a symptom of a new way of life.

Rushkoff challenges Alvin Toffler’s 1970s book “Future Shock,” which theorizes that mankind will be unable to cope with rapid change. Rather, with our microwave and smartphone lifestyles, Rushkoff believes that society has adapted to view time in a different way – by living in the “now.” In “presentism,” the top priority is whatever is happening at that moment.

But unfortunately, the consequence is a lack of caring for the future and moving forward towards goals. Is Rushkoff right? Do you feel pressured by the “now”? Do you want immediate results? Are we more impulsive as a society? Have we lost sight of long-term goals?


Douglas Rushkoff, Author, "Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now" (Current; March 15, 2013); the prolific media theorist also wrote, "Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age" and "Life inc." Rushkoff has written and hosted PBS Frontline documentaries, including “The Merchants of Cool,” which looked at the influence of corporations on youth culture.