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1 Beaverton COMP- HIST & SOC

The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We've Lost in a World of Constant Connection

by

The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We've Lost in a World of Constant Connection Cover

ISBN13: 9781591846932
ISBN10: 1591846935
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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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Party and Occupy Wall Street form two sides of the same post-narrative coin; how corporate investing in the future has been replaced by futile efforts to game the stock market in real time; why social networks make people anxious and email can feel like an assault.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.

Synopsis:

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

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, midconversation, 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 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 thoughts.

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

Michael Harris is a contributing editor at Western Living and Vancouver magazine. His award-winning writing appears regularly in magazines such as The Walrus and Frieze. He lives in Vancouver, Canada.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

DANE, April 4, 2015 (view all comments by DANE)
Do you own a smartphone? Have you ever texted someone? Do you use Facebook or Twitter etc? If so, please read this book!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
powellsjunkie, August 24, 2014 (view all comments by powellsjunkie)
The End of Absence is a splendid book. Michael Harris explores the implications of technology from cyber-bullying and dating, from its impact on memory to the change in how public opinion is shaped, for example, this layperson's review. He writes with humor and wistfulness. and he has done his homework; his book is well researched. For those of us born before the internet, it is a guidebook; for those born after, it's a reminder of what we gain and lose with a new technology - a must-read for all ages -- for those who still read.
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View all 2 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9781591846932
Author:
Harris, Michael
Publisher:
Current
Author:
Rushkoff, Douglas
Subject:
Sociology - General
Subject:
Computers Reference-Social Aspects
Subject:
Aspects
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20140831
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in 1 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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Computers and Internet » Computers Reference » Beginning and Reference
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Computers and Internet » Computers Reference » Social Aspects » General
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Health and Self-Help » Psychology » General
History and Social Science » Sociology » General
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Reference » Science Reference » Technology

The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We've Lost in a World of Constant Connection Used Hardcover
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Product details 256 pages Current - English 9781591846932 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
Soon enough, nobody will remember life before the Internet. What does this unavoidable fact mean?

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, midconversation, 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 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 thoughts.

"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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