People spent the twentieth century obsessed with the future and in pursuit of networks that could provide instantaneous connections, knowledge, and entertainment. In his influential 1970 book, Future Shock, Alvin Toffler theorized that things were changing so fast we would soon lose the ability to cope.
Now, with the advent of Twitter, email, and smartphones, we have a completely new relationship to time. We live in an eternal present, in which the priorities of the current moment seem to mean everything.
In his latest book, Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now, leading media theorist Douglas Rushkoff argues that the dissonance between our digital selves and our analog bodies has thrown us into a new state of anxiety. He examines what it means to be human in an always-connected reality—how modern events and trends have affected our biology, behavior, politics, and culture. Ultimately, Rushkoff offers hope for anyone seeking to transcend the false sense of “now” by suggesting that individuals and communities can make a choice to live in the present: to favor eye contact over texting, quality over speed, and human quirks over digital perfection.
Please join the New America Foundation on June 11 for a conversation with Douglas Rushkoff and Fellow Christine Rosen, moderated by Fellow Marvin Ammori.
Copies of the book will be available for purchase with cash or check.