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1 Burnside Sociology- General

Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now

by

Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

“If the end of the twentieth century can be characterized by futurism, the twenty-first can be defined by presentism.”

 

This is the moment weve been waiting for, explains award-winning media theorist Douglas Rushkoff, but we dont seem to have any time in which to live it. Instead we remain poised and frozen, overwhelmed by an always-on, live-streamed re­ality that our human bodies and minds can never truly in­habit. And our failure to do so has had wide-ranging effects on every aspect of our lives.

 

People spent the twentieth century obsessed with the future. We created technologies that would help connect us faster, gather news, map the planet, compile knowledge, and con­nect with anyone, at anytime. We strove for an instanta­neous network where time and space could be compressed.

 

Well, the futures arrived. We live in a continuous now en­abled by Twitter, email, and a so-called real-time technologi­cal shift. Yet this “now” is an elusive goal that we can never quite reach. And the dissonance between our digital selves and our analog bodies has thrown us into a new state of anxiety: present shock.

 

Rushkoff weaves together seemingly disparate events and trends into a rich, nuanced portrait of how life in the eter­nal present has affected our biology, behavior, politics, and culture. He explains how the rise of zombie apocalypse fic­tion signals our intense desire for an ending; how the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street form two sides of the same post-narrative coin; how corporate investing in the future has been replaced by futile efforts to game the stock market in real time; why social networks make people anxious and email can feel like an assault. He examines how the tragedy of 9/11 disconnected an entire generation from a sense of history, and delves into why conspiracy theories actually comfort us.

 

As both individuals and communities, we have a choice. We can struggle through the onslaught of information and play an eternal game of catch-up. Or we can choose to live in the present: favor eye contact over texting; quality over speed; and human quirks over digital perfection. Rushkoff offers hope for anyone seeking to transcend the false now.

 

Absorbing and thought-provoking, Present Shock is a wide-ranging, deeply thought meditation on what it means to be human in real time.

Review:

"Whether or not readers are familiar with the concept of presentism — the theory that society is more focused on the immediacy of the moment in front of them (actually more specifically on the moment that just passed) than the moment before or, perhaps more importantly, the future — they've certainly felt the increasing pressure of keeping up with various methods of communication, be it texting, Web surfing, live interactions, or a litany of other media for staying 'connected.' Using Alvin Toffler's concept of 'future shock' as a jumping-off point, media theorist Douglas Rushkoff (Cyberia; Get Back in the Box; Media Virus; etc.) deftly weaves in a number of disparate concepts (the Home Shopping Network, zombies, Kurzweil's Law of Accelerating Returns, Internet mashups, hipsters' approximation of historical ephemera as irony, etc.) to examine the challenge of keeping up with technological advances as well as their ensuing impact on culture and human relations in a world that's always 'on.' By highlighting five areas (the rise of moronic reality TV; our need to be omnipresent; the need to compress time in order to achieve our goals; the compulsion to connect unrelated concepts in an effort to make better sense of them; and a gnawing sense of one's obsolescence), Rushkoff gives readers a healthy dose of perspective, insight, and critical analysis that's sure to get minds spinning and tongues wagging." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

People spent the twentieth century obsessed with the future. We created technologies that would help connect us faster, gather news, map the planet, and compile knowledge. We strove for an instantaneous network where time and space could be compressed.

Well, the futures arrived. We live in a continuous now enabled by Twitter, email, and a so-called real-time technological shift. Yet this “now” is an elusive goal that we can never quite reach. And the dissonance between our digital selves and our analog bodies has thrown us into a new state of anxiety: present shock.

Douglas Rushko weaves together seemingly disparate events and trends into a rich, nuanced portrait of how life in the eternal present has affected our biology, behavior, politics, and culture.

“Invaluable.” — The New York Times

“This is a wondrously thought-provoking book.” — Walter Isaacson

“A sobering wake-up call to collectively reexamine our relationship with time before were blindsided by an unwelcome future.” —Booklist

Synopsis:

"Every revolution in communication technology—from papyrus to the printing press to Twitter—is as much an opportunity to be drawn away from something as it is to be drawn toward something. And yet, as we embrace technology's gifts, we usually fail to consider what we're giving up in the process. Why would we bother to register the end of solitude, of ignorance, of lack? Why would we care that an absence had disappeared?"

Soon enough, nobody will remember life before the Internet. What does this unavoidable fact mean?

For future generations, it wont mean anything very obvious. They will be so immersed in online life that questions about the Internets basic purpose or meaning will vanish.

But those of us who have lived both with and without the crowded connectivity of online life have a rare opportunity. We can still recognize the difference between Before and After. We catch ourselves idly reaching for our phones at the bus stop. Or we notice how, mid-conversation, a fumbling friend dives into the perfect recall of Google.

In this eloquent and thought-provoking book, Michael Harris argues that amid all the changes were experiencing, the most interesting is the one that future generations will find hardest to grasp. That is the end of absence—the loss of lack. The daydreaming silences in our lives are filled; the burning solitudes are extinguished. Theres no true “free time” when you carry a smartphone. Todays rarest commodity is the chance to be alone with your own thoughts.

To understand our predicament, and what we should do about it, Harris explores this “loss of lack” in chapters devoted to every corner of our lives, from sex and commerce to memory and attention span. His book is a kind of witness for the “straddle generation”—a burst of empathy for those of us who suspect that our technologies use us as much as we use them.

By placing our situation in a rich historical context, Harris helps us remember which parts of that earlier world we dont want to lose forever. He urges us to look up—even briefly—from our screens. To remain awake to what came before. To again take pleasure in absence.

About the Author

Douglas Ruskoff's previous books--including Cyberia and Media Virus--have been translated into thirteen languages. He is the Technology and Culture Consultant to the United Nations Commission on World Culture and a regular consultant to Fortune 500 companies, and he writes a bi-weekly column for the New York Times syndicate. He teaches at the Esalen Institute and Banff Center for the Arts, and will be adjunct professor of Media Sociology at New York University in 1999. He lives in New York City.

Douglas Rushkoff is currently featured on ZDTV's "Big Thinkers" series. Check out the site at www.zdtv.com/bigthinkers.

Table of Contents

Introduction: They Say

Chapter One: Hand-to-Hand

Chapter Two: Atmospherics

Chapter Three: Spectacle

Chapter Four: Public Relations

Chapter Five: Advertising

Chapter Six: Pyramids

Chapter Seven: Virtual Marketing

Postscript: Buyer's Remorse

Bibliography

Notes

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9781591844761
Subtitle:
When Everything Happens Now
Author:
Rushkoff, Douglas
Author:
Tucker, Patrick
Author:
Harris, Michael
Publisher:
Current Trade
Subject:
General Social Science
Subject:
General Psychology & Psychiatry
Subject:
Aspects
Subject:
Science Reference-Technology
Subject:
Sociology - General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
20140225
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 1 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now Used Hardcover
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$11.95 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Current Hardcover - English 9781591844761 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Whether or not readers are familiar with the concept of presentism — the theory that society is more focused on the immediacy of the moment in front of them (actually more specifically on the moment that just passed) than the moment before or, perhaps more importantly, the future — they've certainly felt the increasing pressure of keeping up with various methods of communication, be it texting, Web surfing, live interactions, or a litany of other media for staying 'connected.' Using Alvin Toffler's concept of 'future shock' as a jumping-off point, media theorist Douglas Rushkoff (Cyberia; Get Back in the Box; Media Virus; etc.) deftly weaves in a number of disparate concepts (the Home Shopping Network, zombies, Kurzweil's Law of Accelerating Returns, Internet mashups, hipsters' approximation of historical ephemera as irony, etc.) to examine the challenge of keeping up with technological advances as well as their ensuing impact on culture and human relations in a world that's always 'on.' By highlighting five areas (the rise of moronic reality TV; our need to be omnipresent; the need to compress time in order to achieve our goals; the compulsion to connect unrelated concepts in an effort to make better sense of them; and a gnawing sense of one's obsolescence), Rushkoff gives readers a healthy dose of perspective, insight, and critical analysis that's sure to get minds spinning and tongues wagging." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by ,
People spent the twentieth century obsessed with the future. We created technologies that would help connect us faster, gather news, map the planet, and compile knowledge. We strove for an instantaneous network where time and space could be compressed.

Well, the futures arrived. We live in a continuous now enabled by Twitter, email, and a so-called real-time technological shift. Yet this “now” is an elusive goal that we can never quite reach. And the dissonance between our digital selves and our analog bodies has thrown us into a new state of anxiety: present shock.

Douglas Rushko weaves together seemingly disparate events and trends into a rich, nuanced portrait of how life in the eternal present has affected our biology, behavior, politics, and culture.

“Invaluable.” — The New York Times

“This is a wondrously thought-provoking book.” — Walter Isaacson

“A sobering wake-up call to collectively reexamine our relationship with time before were blindsided by an unwelcome future.” —Booklist

"Synopsis" by ,
"Every revolution in communication technology—from papyrus to the printing press to Twitter—is as much an opportunity to be drawn away from something as it is to be drawn toward something. And yet, as we embrace technology's gifts, we usually fail to consider what we're giving up in the process. Why would we bother to register the end of solitude, of ignorance, of lack? Why would we care that an absence had disappeared?"

Soon enough, nobody will remember life before the Internet. What does this unavoidable fact mean?

For future generations, it wont mean anything very obvious. They will be so immersed in online life that questions about the Internets basic purpose or meaning will vanish.

But those of us who have lived both with and without the crowded connectivity of online life have a rare opportunity. We can still recognize the difference between Before and After. We catch ourselves idly reaching for our phones at the bus stop. Or we notice how, mid-conversation, a fumbling friend dives into the perfect recall of Google.

In this eloquent and thought-provoking book, Michael Harris argues that amid all the changes were experiencing, the most interesting is the one that future generations will find hardest to grasp. That is the end of absence—the loss of lack. The daydreaming silences in our lives are filled; the burning solitudes are extinguished. Theres no true “free time” when you carry a smartphone. Todays rarest commodity is the chance to be alone with your own thoughts.

To understand our predicament, and what we should do about it, Harris explores this “loss of lack” in chapters devoted to every corner of our lives, from sex and commerce to memory and attention span. His book is a kind of witness for the “straddle generation”—a burst of empathy for those of us who suspect that our technologies use us as much as we use them.

By placing our situation in a rich historical context, Harris helps us remember which parts of that earlier world we dont want to lose forever. He urges us to look up—even briefly—from our screens. To remain awake to what came before. To again take pleasure in absence.

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