Thursday, September 02, 2010

Social Contract: Present Shock

To understand what is happening to us as we move into this age of super-capitalism, we must analyze the processes of acceleration and confront the concept of transience. If acceleration is a new social force, transience is its psychological counterpart, and without an understanding of the role it plays in contemporary human behavior, all our theories of personality, all our psychology, must remain pre-modern. Psychology without the concept of transience cannot take account of precisely those phenomena that are peculiarly contemporary.

For our society have not merely extended the scope and scale of change, we have radically altered the pace. We have released a totally new social force - a stream of change, so accelerated that it influences our sense of time, revolutionizes the tempo of daily life, and affects the very way we feel the world around us. We no longer feel life as our forefathers did in the past. And this is the ultimate difference, the distinction that separates the truly contemporary man from all others. For this acceleration lies behind the impermanence - the transience - that penetrates and tinctures our consciousness, radically affecting the way we relate to other people, to things, to the entire universe of ideas, art and values.

The changing of our relationship to the resources that surround us, the violent expanding of the scope of change, and most crucially, the accelerating pace, we have broken irretrievably with the past. We have cut ourselves off from the old ways of thinking, of feeling, of adapting. We have set the stage for a completely new society and we are now racing toward it. This is the crux of our lifetime.

For the first time, we will have to face the potential explosive future shock! (The FUTURE arrived YESTERDAY, says Michael Malone!)

--- Alvin Toffler; Future Shock.


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