It’s fair to say that the last week has been rather eventful. Resignations and recriminations have dominated the headlines and will continue to do so for some time to come.
2016 had already established itself as a dramatic year filled with celebrity deaths, and today, the author and futurologist Alvin Toffler joined the long list of those who won’t be around to sing Auld Lang Syne once this beast of a year finally ends.
Toffler’s most famous work was the 1970 book Future Shock in which he outlined a number of predictions for the future – some of which have since come true (the rise of the internet) and some which haven’t (underwater cities).
The book was turned into a documentary featuring a cigar-chomping Orson Welles and a Gil Mellé soundtrack:
In the introduction to the film, Welles sits in the back of a giant black limousine as it drives through the streets and, between puffs on his over-sized cigar, solemnly explains what Future Shock is all about:
Future shock is a sickness which comes from too much change in too short a time, it’s the feeling that nothing is permanent any more. It’s the reaction to changes that happen so fast that we can’t absorb them. It’s the premature arrival of the future, and for those who are unprepared, its effects can be pretty devastating.
Given the events of the last week, I think this is a sensation that we are all familiar with, although perhaps given how fast things are changing, the sickness Toffler outlined should be renamed “present shock”.