Wednesday, September 14, 2016

#258 / Toffler

Alvin Toffler died on June 27th of this year. The New York Times did a very nice obituary, and published another article, as well, a week or so later. That article, by Farhad Manjoo, was titled, "The Future Toffler Saw Is Already Upon Us."

I remember reading Future Shock when it first came out, in 1970. Toffler predicted, as Manjoo wrote, that local and global crises would arrive, one after the other, and "millions of human beings will find themselves increasingly disoriented, progressively incompetent to deal rationally with their environments."

That sounds about right!

My recollection is that I quibbled with Toffler's apparent idea that "change" came upon us as an autonomous force, battering and smashing us until we succumbed, suffering from "a real psychological malady, the 'dizzying disorientation brought on by the premature arrival of the future.'"

The way I saw it, Toffler's hypothesis was that change is something that "happens to us." We observe change as spectators, and when it comes too fast, we become disoriented, even as we watch.

I was very much convinced that we must never see change this way, as spectators. I thought that we must assert, always, that we are not spectators, who watch change happen to us, but that we are actors, and must believe that we can make change happen the way we want.

I still think that.

It's our only way out.

If we can't bring ourselves to seize command, take action, and change the world, then it's not a "shock" that we will need to be worrying about.

It's a societal version of electrocution!

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  1. I agree that we most definitely need to leave ourselves in the equation. I don’t remember the book but I also think our impact has gone up expodentially in the past 30 years.

    1. I believe that you are absolutely right about that!


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