WHI-1228 | Present Shock

Sunday, 19 Oct 2014

This week on the White Horse Inn Dr. Michael Horton is speaking with special guest Douglas Rushkoff who is the technology and media commentator for CNN, and the winner of the first Neil Postman Award for Career Achievement in Public Intellectual Activity. He is an author, teacher, and documentarian who focuses on the ways people, cultures, and institutions create, share, and influence each other’s values through media. He is the author of several books including his recent work, Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now. In this interview they discuss how digital technology has drastically altered how we view existence from day to day. Religion, itself, has been affected dramatically. Join us in this special interview as they discuss these important issues.

“This is a big [shift], almost an existential kind of a shift. It came along with the shift to digital technology, which is much more present based, where the continuous style of the sweep second hand around the clock was replaced even just metaphorically with the digital clock, which is always in whatever moment it’s in. The clock is 7:01. The clock is 7:02. It’s not leaning. It’s not the beginning of 7:01 and leaning to the end of it, turning over to a new minute. Those two forces, those two new ways of seeing the world, either the ‘presentism’ of being in a new millennium where we’re no longer leaning toward the inclusion of a new millennium but we’re in a new one, and the analogue technology which was very ‘continuist’ feeling to digital which has a very in the moment feeling and all of these apps which are in the moment to a fault – kind of shifted us from the world that [Alvin] Toffller was in to what I wanted to call Present Shock. The future he was describing has arrived and we’re no longer now just contending with the ever-accelerating-future, but now we’re contending with an always-on-present.”
– Douglas Rushkoff
Narrative Collapse
“Narrative collapse is the loss of linear stories and their replacement with both crass reality programming and highly intelligent post-narrative shows like The Simpsons. With no goals to justify journeys, we get the impatient impulsiveness of the Tea Party, as well as the unbearably patient presentism of the Occupy movement. The new path to sense-making is more like an open game than a story.
Narrative Collapse is what happens when we no longer have time in which to tell a story. It is the experience of living in this fast-moving, chaotic information environment which destroys our capacity to conceive of our lives as stories, with a beginning, middle, and end.”
(Adapted from Douglas Rushkoff’s website, http://www.rushkoff.com/present-shock)

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