SXSWi: Douglas Rushkoff on living in perpetual presentism

Douglas Rushkoff’s new book, which I haven’t read yet, is “Present Shock.” He waxed philosophical on Saturday about resisting the digital age’s obsession with fractured, everything is important and it’s all right now! living.

Some snippets from Doug’s talk at SXSWi …

Digifrenia – multiple instances of ourselves operating simultaneously and out of control. The result of living a programmed life instead of programming tools to live our life.

Purely transactional currencies were for exchange, not for generating value themselves. That wouldn’t work for the arbiters of the Industrial Age. They needed money with time in it, so we saw the rise (again) of central currencies, with interest. Money with a clock. But money biased toward transactions and velocity – a return to transactional currencies – is the new money needed for an agile, value-focused economy, one which is percolating in the midst of the old industrialized one.

Fractonoia – trying, and of course, failing, to make sense of every thing in the moment by drawing congruence between them even when it is clearly not there. The real skill today is pattern recognition, and reactivating the human part of your enterprise.

Apocolypto – spending more time thinking about apocolyptic scenarios than focusing on and trying to make sense of what is actually happening now, and in the literal tomorrow. Present shock is believing that humans are just along for information’s ride.

Seems to me Rushkoff is articulating, as he does so well, that which we all feel intuitively but are just too busy with our fractionoid digifreniaistic lifestyles to be bothered with do anything about it. So in the interest of trying, I will turn off my bluetooth keyboard to my smartphone running this WordPress app, take a break, and go smell some flowers and talk to someone new, just as soon as I hit the publish button.

* Doug Rushkoff also wrote Life, Inc., Program or be programmed, and other thought- and potentially argument-provoking books.


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    1. Well said, Jim. And of course, we need two or three parts solution for every one part problem reiteration. But Rushkoff is awfully good at stating the problems.

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