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IEET > Security > Rights > Life > Vision > Fellows > Douglas Rushkoff

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The Terror of Real Time


Doug Rushkoff
Doug Rushkoff
Rushkoff

Posted: Apr 22, 2013

(CNN) —So is this the "new normal"? That's the question I keep hearing as people try to comprehend the tragedy at the Boston Marathon and its chaotic aftermath. The answer is yes—in more ways than you might think.

I don't mean that we're supposed to get used to explosions, school shootings and other threats arising seemingly randomly and without warning. But we should accept that the old ways of understanding and responding to conflicts and threats no longer apply.

In an always-on, post-narrative age, 24-hour cable and Internet news and Twitter feeds offer a steady stream of opportunities for panic and misinformation. We have a suspect; no, we don't; yes, we do. The school is on lockdown; no, it's not. False alarms are still alarms, after all. It's like we are all living in newsrooms, or as 911 operators or air-traffic controllers, for all the emergency interruptions and bulletins we navigate practically every hour.

Then consider the equally unnerving limbo we endure once there's nothing new to report. The stakes are too high to return to regular programming, so we just sit there, poised on high alert along with the police and journalists. This time, it was flashing blue lights and the search for a suspect. Before that, it was the live feed of Deepwater Horizon in the corner of the screen for weeks, belching oil into the sea. Whether interruptive or chronic, the anxiety keeps pouring in.

We live in a state of "present shock."

Click Here to read the more...


Douglas Rushkoff is a fellow of the IEET, author of a dozen books and comic books, producer of two award-winning Frontline documentaries, and his essays have been published widely.
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COMMENTS


You had me worried there for a moment, until, right at the end..

“In a world where crises are constant and
perpetual, we might as well begin to
develop more sustainable approaches to
solving them in real time, rather than once
and for all.”

Yes, there is a positive side to dealing with unresolved dilemmas, and in the same manner as governments have learned they cannot resolve social and political problems and differences.

We should all wake up, rub our eyes and realize that people do bad things, and that we all have responsibility to take care of society and freedoms, take notice, be informed. and participate to help prevent heinous crimes - rather than be impartial observers, thinking and hoping that governments will sort all these things for us? Those days are over?

People plant bombs because the hazard and fear of getting caught doing it are slight to negligible? I hate to admit this, but increased surveillance here in the UK has made a difference to help prevent opportunity for such, although there are still no guarantees for society.

We have all been too cosy thus far, expecting authorities to pick up the responsibility, and in believing the propaganda propagated to ease our worries and consciences concerning dilemmas we’re all too lazy to think about?

Apathy - yet another description of Self-ishness?





“In a world where crises are constant and perpetual, we might as well begin to develop more sustainable approaches to solving them in real time, rather than once and for all.”

Since reading the article this morning I’ve been trying to figure out what this might mean.

Earlier in the article the author explains that “the challenges of a post-Industrial society are less like conquests with clear endpoints than they are steady-state concerns. Oil is spilling. The climate is changing. Terrorists are plotting. Crises are never quite solved for the future so much as managed in the present.”

So, is he suggesting that we just throw up our hands and give up on the idea of solving problems or the future, and accept that from now on we are doomed to an everlasting (at least until Armageddon finally arrives) state of crisis management? And if so, what could it mean to develop “more sustainable approaches”? Surely, the whole concept of sustainability depends on the idea that we are looking to the future, rather than just living for the present.

The author further argues that “accepting the essentially plotless and ongoing nature of crisis needn’t compromise our ability to respond appropriately and effectively. In fact, by freeing ourselves from the obsolete narratives we used to rely on, we can begin to recognize the patterns in the apparent chaos. We may not get answers to rally around or satisfyingly dramatic finales, but neither will we need to invent compelling, false stories to motivate ourselves into action.”

Fair enough, but once we have recognised “the patterns in the apparent chaos”, do we not still need to invent compelling (but hopefully less false) stories to motivate ourselves into action?

I agree with CygnusX1 that we need to wake up and realise (even, in a way, accept) that people do bad things. (And if we wonder why, read up on some evolutionary psychology.) There is far too much hand-wringing and non-acceptance, even (especially) by people who are not sufficently directly affected by such events to have the excuse of emotional overload.

Finally, if it is true that “in an always-on, post-narrative age, 24-hour cable and Internet news and Twitter feeds offer a steady stream of opportunities for panic and misinformation”, there is an easily solution, for those of us who have developed the mindfulness skills to muster the discipline to implement it. JUST TURN THE DAMN THINGS OFF.





And also..

Social media misinformation/disinformation is only a concern IF we’re too lazy and apathetic to unravel it? It only persists if we do not question, which is thus conversely the boon and benefit of social media?

An example, notice the fundamental mistake of the author in confusing “Crowdsourcing” (and it’s benefits), with “Groupthink” below?

www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/boston-marathon-bombings-how-twitter-and-reddit-got-it-wrong-8581167.html





Lessons from Crowdsourcing the Boston bomber investigation

singularityhub.com/2013/04/23/lessons-from-crowdsourcing-the-boston-bombing-investigation/





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