Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Future Shock is here! (Charles Stross thinks so)

Future Shock was published in the 60's, describing how, in the future (like, now) people would be unable to come to terms with "too much change in too short a period of time" and would be victims to stress, disorientation and other nasty symptoms. Charlie Stross, one of my favorite writers (he is the guy who wrote The Atrocity Archives as well as my all-time favorite Cthulhu Mythos tale: A Colder War)
has an interesting post on his blog dealing with exactly how much of this Future Shock has come true, and how it was grossly underestimated:
"My working hypothesis to explain the 21st century is that the Tofflers underestimated how pervasive future shock would be. I think somewhere in the range from 15-30% of our fellow hairless primates are currently in the grip of future shock, to some degree. Symptoms include despair, anxiety, depression, disorientation, paranoia, and a desperate search for certainty in lives that are experiencing unpleasant and uninvited change. It's no surprise that anyone who can offer dogmatic absolute answers is popular, or that the paranoid style is again ascendant in American politics, or that religious certainty is more attractive to many than the nuanced complexities of scientific debate. Climate change is an exceptionally potent trigger for future shock insofar as it promises an unpleasant and unpredictable dose of upcoming instability in the years ahead; denial is an emotionally satisfying response to the threat, if not a sustainable one in the longer term.
Image by Violator3
Deep craziness: we're in it, and there's probably not going to be any reduction in the prevalence of authoritarian escapism until we collectively become accustomed to the pace of change. Which will, at a minimum, not happen until the older generations have died of old age — and maybe not even then."
I don't think he could have been more to the point. Head over to his blog and read the full article. It's worth it.
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi, very interesting post, greetings from Greece!