19 October 2010

Future Shock

From Wikipedia, future shock is "a term for a certain psychological state of individuals and entire societies, introduced by Toffler in his book of the same name. Toffler's shortest definition of future shock is a personal perception of 'too much change in too short a period of time.'"

As I cited that article, I thought about how this rapid change is not reflected in academic documentation. Wikipedia is ever changing, so who is to say if that quote will exist tomorrow? Am I to cite some this moment in the Wikipedia archives instead of the page itself?

Anyway, Charles Darwin's Origin of Species says of dominant species, "each large group tends to become still larger, and at the same time more divergent in character. But as all groups cannot thus succeed in increasing in size, for the world would not hold them, the more dominant groups beat the less dominant."

The digital revolution displays natural selection in such ways as: blogs that are read and blogs that aren't, online and physical newspapers, and the fluid online battle of ideas in forums like Wikipedia, and the speed of digital evolution lends itself to future shock.

The public reaction to Darwin's claim was widespread doubt. Evolution challenged religious fundamentals, specifically the book Genesis. Darwin himself lost his Christian faith after training as a clergyman. We, too, live in a time of widespread doubt as the Victorian age. Perhaps we have lost some capacity for faith because of the future shock phenomenon. Because we now have the ideas of instant, accurate information, an overwhelming sea of internet, where is the place for a God we cannot see or friend on Facebook?

What effect does the digital renaissance have on Tibetan religion? How does the Dalai Lama manage the technological wave and his religious position? How do students deal with the onslaught of information? Do they experience future shock?


  1. Perhaps people are getting so caught up in the details that they forget that God can be found in=between the lines. Yes, the internet and technology has propagated the use of pornography, but it also has its virtues. Information is more widespread. Think of all the medical devices and procedures that have saved millions of lives. I think that God can be found there, in-between the lines. Heavenly Father wants us to be educated and use the resources that have been given us. In my Writings of Isaiah class I learned that the Mormons are the only religious group who become stronger in their faith as they become more educated.

  2. Sarah, I agree with you. I reread my post and realized that my words seem to reflect doubt of mine, which is not what I intended. My question concerning God's place in the digital age was a comparison of Victorian doubt and our own society's evaporating religious/moral ground.

    I really like what you said about Mormons increasing their faith with increased education. I think that's because we're taught to recognize and love truth no matter whence it comes.