The Only Constant is Change

Future-Shocked at twelve

In 1970 the best seller was Future Shock by Alvin Toffler. I was twelve, my dad bought it and I read it. Do YOU remember Future Shock? Toffler – the genious seer of our times – seemed to be more accurate than Nostrdamas in predicting all sorts of psychological, social, and economic maldies and turbulence of the next thirty, forty, fifty years. And I got to live them. Course you did too. So isn’t this a kind of denial? Or did the rest of you just not read the book? You need to stop right now, get the book and read it. We need to break out of this collective denial and do something before it’s too late.
For those of you who are too lazy or Twitter-headed to actually read a book anymore, here’s the sound bite version: Toffler (the previously mentioned Nostradamos of his time) offered an overwhelming mountain of evidence that technological, social, and economic change, largely stemming from the growing influence of science and technology into every area of contemporary life, would bring a torrent of change that would cause humans to become un-human machines. He said this in 1970! Of course Ray Bradbury said it earlier, but I digress.
In order to get all this change it was determined that companies should bring people from different backgrounds together. Diversity creates change. So if companies needed to hire new people, don’t promote locally – move families from California to Cape Cod and back, then to Dallas, Texas, then to Ann Arbor Michigan, then to Elm Grove, Wisconsin and maybe even Belgium (that one never actually happened, but the talk of it left a scar). Lots of new towns, new people, and LOTS OF NEW SCHOOLS! Just try to make friends. Did I tell you we moved alot? That was a shitload of change.
See Toffler thought that while a human being’s capacity to adjust physically, psychologically, and socially to this “torrent of change” is finite and limited, the “pace of change” is unlimited and is increasing and expanding into more and more areas of individuals’ lives. And it’s not like people were asking for these profound and endless changes. Sure, they were starting to make more money; lots more money, which made more money and made them want to make more money; but the plan was never laid out with all its accompanying implications.
The question is, and this is the important part: did all this change which brought all this money actually make our lives better? I for one say NO! Well, kinda in some ways, because I like alot of the technological stuff, but ultimately as long as we are still in the flesh form and have these goddamned emotions, A BIG HUGE NO!
Because “Future shock” is what happens when people are no longer able to cope with the pace of change. Lots of symptoms and maladies ranging from depression (check) to bizarre behavior (check) to increases in susceptibility to disease (check) to absolute emotional breakdown (well, not all of us – we have antidepressants now) would occur.
This book scared me. I was already feeling it and I was only twelve. It was the second scariest book I ever read. The Exorcist was the first, because I was raised Catholic.
Future Shock sucks!

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