Table of Contents
Future Shock ⇒ scrambled GPS
Future Shock implies the unexpected challenge of too much change in too short a time… it’s the experience and realization that nothing is permanent anymore. What was unacceptable yesterday is acceptable today and what was considered correct in the past, is regarded as wrong today. Future SHOCK is the reaction to changes that happen so fast, that we cannot digest, nor assimilate and adapt to it.
Future shock is the result of a “change machine gun” which confronts us and we have to constantly accommodate something new. For those of us who are unprepared, the effects often are devastating, derailing and even destructive; especially when cognitive dissonance and LAB-factors synchronize with each other in a Newton's Cradle effect. Relentlessly… till something gotta give!
It is difficult to accurately and clearly describe the Future Shock phenomenon, but it essentially indicates a world spinning out of control due to runaway technology and resulting social, economic and political pressures. Future shock isn't a prediction for the future, implying that chaos is inevitable… because a prepared society can always decide which direction to take, and use its technology wisely. PROVIDING… that we do not stereotype change as something bad and that anything that deviates from the current norm is to be feared and opposed.
Our society is constantly in flux and has been ever since man first discover fire and invented the wheel.
Change actually is normal.
Change is something that happened since the universe was created or - as some people prefer to see it - materialize from nothing, due to some kind of cosmic accident. Change was, is and always will be “part and parcel” of growth and development (e.g. baby → child → youth → adult → old age) which is already happening for decades and will still happen for many years to come. Unless we destroy ourselves and our planet as a result of our egotistical, self-serving and arrogant disposition.
Then, why is change suddenly such a major problem in modern times? Because… changes taking place in our modern society, are speeding up and we struggle to keep up with the tempo of change brought about by technological developments and advances.
1. Background & Definition
The construct “Future Shock” - originally coined by Alvin Toffler - implies a whole series of events that are described in both of Toffler's published books, Future Shock (1970) and The Third Wave (1980) as follows…
In three short decades between now and the 21st century, millions of ordinary, psychologically normal people will face an abrupt collision with the future (Future Shock - 1970).
A powerful tide is surging across much of the world today, creating a new, often bizarre, environment in which to work, play, marry, raise children or retire. In this bewildering context… businessmen swim against highly erratic economic currents, politicians see their ratings bob widely up and down, universities, hospitals and other institutions battle desperately against inflation. Value systems splinter and crash, while the lifeboats of family, church and state are hurled madly about. The proverbial man in the street says the world “has gone absolutely mad”, while experts point to all trends leading towards a major catastrophe (The Third Wave - 1980).
More than three decades have passed since Toffler wrote his best-seller, “Future Shock” and more than two decades since his follow-up best-seller, “The Third Wave”. It is now the year 2023 and future shock, floating on the third wave, is already an alarming reality that every one of us currently lives… and are confronted with
each and every dayplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigChanges in all areas of life...
This has increased unprecedented in intensity, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world in 2021.. As individuals, our lives have become more and more complicated and our future an overwhelming pool of uncertainty and confusion.
As managers, we face increasing pressures and uncertainties. As employees, we are constantly confronted with change. As parents, we find it increasingly difficult to assist and guide our children during these rapidly changing times. As South Africans, we generally struggle with the notions of reform; with the idea that something bad must be replaced by something good; that old dispensation must give way to a new social order…. literally overnight.
Things are changing all around us, nationally as well as internationally. We are confronted with and must deal with today's stress and surprises, while we are planning for tomorrow. We have to deal with today's business demands effectively, even while we have to create a new and radically different kind of business for the future. We must sustain today's society even while reinventing it for tomorrow. It's a daunting task, BUT also one that we cannot postpone… because the future simply doesn't wait for any one of us!
Thus, Future Shock - essentially - can be defined as… Confusion and uncertainty that are brought about by how absolutely correct - but at the same time - also how absolutely wrong our views, approach and handling of reality, with which we are confronted on a daily basis, are.
2. The Challenge
It is difficult to live in the present, ridiculous to live in the future and impossible to live in the past.
NOW (i.e. the Power of Now and Seize the Moment) is the only time we have to think and plan for what is lying ahead. The past taught us lessons and provides us with plenty of experiences and wisdom, the future is uncertain and possibly quite different from what we are used to… and the present, the present is all that we have to work with.
There is not a moment to waste.
Many of the “solutions” hinge on a new socio-political system and one thing stand out above the rest. All institutions, organizations, businesses and each South African - and each inhabitant of this planet for that matter - has an important responsibility to……
- remain viable, create wealth and generate jobs and opportunities for personal growth,
- to sensitize people to the need for change and
- to help others to learn and master new behaviours (action models) and thus bring about productive change.
This is not merely an idealistic, politically altruistic inspired thought. When we as South Africans are to survive the future, with just a semblance of our cultural persona intact, we must somehow preserve our present cultural values that are dear to all of us. All people - especially leaders - have a vital role to play in the future of this country. Demands made on us will grow; we will be called to deliver more and more - under increasingly strenuous and mentally exhausting conditions - as each year passes. The question is…
- Are we ready for the responsibility?
- Can we do it?
- What can we do?
- How will we do it?
- What resources will we require?
- Which strategy will be the best and most productive to follow?
There are no easy solutions, for South Africa and globally. There are some socio-political and educational-training models currently available that we can call on, without any certainty nor guarantee that they will work under present circumstances and within our particular context. Thus, we can learn from the experiences in other countries, BUT in essence… we all have to pull together and collectively invent our own future!
This is a mind-boggling challenge for each and every South African. It demands imagination, courage, perseveranceplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigPersistence, continued efforts and determination in doing something, despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. , self-control, loyalty, respect for diversities and it demands “something completely different” rather than “more of the same”. It demands that we rethink and re-plan each aspect of our lives and reinvent (renew) our life's from start to finish and top to bottom.
Definitely, an impossible ideal, NO!
It implies that we have to return to the basics. The basics of strengthening the South African chain, by strengthening each individual link of that chain, through developing and initiating responsible and accountable Self-empowerment and/or Psyche Management drives.
Like a man on a high wire, we're all tempted to freeze in times of danger. We assume that when we stop, we'll regain our balance and be safe. But in times of change, it is the worst thing that we can do. The only way in which a tightrope walker can maintain his/her balance - and survive - is by slowing down and gradually moving forward… cautiously!. S/he must progress. And so it is for every person, family, all companies, institutions, organizations and all nations. Turning back, in the face of change - as in the case of a tightrope walker - almost always has devastating consequences and not a very wise move to consider.
3. Typical Reaction
The essential components of Future Shock are…
- a future that is uncertain and
- a general struggle to cope with constant and rapid change.
We are all confronted with Future Shock, more often than we would care to admit. Normally we think that we could handle almost everything… until one day we unexpectedly discover the world has “suddenly” turned upside down, without us even being aware of all the changes taking place.
There are as many different reactions to future shock, as there are people experiencing it - however - there is a typical “unprepared-reaction” common to the majority of future shock confrontations, which can be indicated as follows…
|An attentive, much dedicated and somewhat confused focus on a seemingly meaningless task at hand. There is a lack of real understanding, but an eager willingness to do as instructed (i.e. act responsibly and do the right thing).|
|An unexpected and sudden confrontation, resulting in a momentous confused paralysis, trying to figure out what the %$@&@ is actually happening here or taking place.|
|PANIC sets in with lightning speed, accompanied by an inability to take any constructive or productive actions. The most logical action to take at this stage is making lots of noise, movement and frantic defensive behaviours (e.g. waving of hands in this case).|
|Must do something! First line of defense seem the most appropriate option… ATTACK! Thus, fight off the threat by trying to push it back into the screen.|
|When fighting seems to be totally ineffective, because the confrontation doesn't go away… FLIGHT seems to be the next best option to take.|
|Fleeing results in the seeking of immediate safety with what is a familiar and trusting source of security and comfort; or so we tend to think… because quite often our original and trusted source of comfort is responsible for this confrontation in the first place.|
|The eventual outcome of this incident… a nervous helplessness, scared to death to deal with the incident and which requires plenty of support to digest and cope with the shock. Quite often the implication is ignored because it wasn't such a big deal, judged by its insignificant position on the stress barometer and an excellent platform for launching the little jackal trap.|
The above is a typical reaction from a person with an “unprepared mind”. When s/he is “suddenly” confronted with some form and manifestation of unexpected future shock. Such a shock could be “forthcoming” for weeks, months or even years and was probably “overlooked and ignored” due to his/her own naive stupidity. But, regardless of the circumstances or context or reason, the result of future shock is always essentially the same… it can reduce anyone from a stronghold of confidence to a pathetic heap of emotional ruble in a matter of seconds.
4. Tell Signs
Tell signs that the psyche of an individual is disturbed by future shock - although varying significantly from person to person - normally manifest as all kinds of depressions, anxiety, constant feeling of looming doom, stress, aggression, fear and rage. This isn't an uncommon modern-day phenomenon, but sadly though, it increasingly is manifesting at a younger and younger age.
Unfortunately, these indicated conditions - nowadays - are merely treated by addressing the observable symptoms of future shock, and not dealing with the actual underlying and real fundamentalplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigFundamental Principles
...~ Mark Victor Hansen.
responsibility DO SOMETHING obstaclesADKAR-change modelgrowingevolvingperson
fill empty mindsalchemizeby focussingcontextualunderstanding
Remember that patience is a virtue obstacle of… an unpredictable, uncertain and confusing future as a result of the Newton's Cradle trap, created and sustained by cognitive biases, cognitive dissonances, dogmas and prevailing psyche wounds, often camouflage as life scripts. All of which effectively destroys our self-worth, mindfulness, the Power of Now and Seizing the Moment, which often are the only way in which we can bring about a different or alternative future for ourselves and those around us.
5. Modern Day Chronic "Dis-eases"
The modern world has plenty advantages and many technologies that makes life - when compared with previous generations - a much better place in many ways. However, despite materialistic and physical advantages or gains, the human race - generally speaking - is currently suffering psychically, mentally and spiritually much more than ever before, and the new “normal” of modern society is high levels of anxiety and low levels of depression which establish and maintain a modern day scarcity mind-set and way of life that merely regards an abundant mind-set and way of life as a “perhaps-one-day-if-you-are-lucky” pipe dream, which effectively renders the power of now and seizing the moment virtually paralysed, ineffective and sustain an active inner life of crippling psyche wounds and plenty of resulting cognitive dissonances.
The main reasons for the above are that - collectively - we have lost equilibrium, are no longer in balance with our environment, all of creation and view the world around us out of context, which - in essence - were established and maintained by the unconditional following of unquestioned dogmas deeply entrenched in our active, current and respective umwelt's…
Meritocracy implies that everyone is free to make it, to become whatever one wishes and wants to be, unless… one isn't up-to-standard, one doesn't have the talent or worse, does not have the capacity and/or resources to make it. Under these failing conditions, one gradually becomes a second-grade citizen and a complete failure in society's eyes. Thus, the sameness principle is applied out of context, which frequently results in “black-and-white” judgment of when we…
- succeedplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigMeeting the needs and requirements of a collectively predefined 'industrial machine like technology' curriculum and standard. we are valuable, BUT
- failplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigMeeting the criteria of uniqueness, individualization, customization and context., we are treated as useless, worth nothing and - most likely - are regarded as a burden to society in general.
Therefore, successplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigCollectively defined as an optimal capatalistic-materialistic consumerism. I.e. the ability to spend lots and lots of money on things we don't really need to impress people we don't actually care about! is highly regarded in our modern society and failure1) is a damnation of losers by society, which essentially result in basic references of either being lucky (successful) or struck by tragedy (failure). In essence an individual's merit as a human being - regrettably - is determine by an unfortunate combination of more luck in life than tragedy.
In modern times, there is a worldwide tendency to regard some cultures, religions and groups of individuals as more worthy and better than others. This unfortunate way of stereotyping the worth of individuals according to the classification, group or culture that they belong to, frequently result in more harm, stress and pressure than doing any good. This culturetocracy happens on a global scaleplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigThe so-called first, second and third world economy and country classifications, where the first world indicates success, the second world represent some mediocre form of success and the third world implies uselessness/worthlessness in modern-day times. to a kizillion religious grouping where one religion is regarded as more “correct and true” than the other and down to community or society levelplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigWhich freely and liberally use stereotyping, groupings, categories and classifications that are based on gender, age, skin colour, language, socioeconomic status, intelligence, ...etc. .
Regardless of the criteria applied - in essence - some individuals are judged as better than others …for example… first world countries are regarded as better and more successful than third world countries and an individual's worth is mainly determined by the group/class/category by which s/he is classified. The latter, in itself, is - more often than not - a major source of anxiety experienced by “classified” individuals in modern times.
Currently, individualism - in essence - is an egocentric-consumer-narcissistic driven perception that sources from “only I am responsible for my ultimate success” regardless of the ways and means followed to obtain success in life. Everyone has a special destiny - often translated as a success by consumption - and the community no longer matters, unless they can enhance personal consumption. Only me and I will achieve success, other people are in my way, blocking me from achieving success, and who should be manipulated or neutralized as quickly as possible by applying VIDSHE-principles effectively.
Meritocracy, culturetocracy and individualism firmly establish a widely and collectively accepted “I-am-the-center” of the universe and there is nothing bigger nor more important than me, and the purpose of everything else on this planet (even the Divine or God) merely exists to support and/or favour me to be a winner and as rich as possible in my lifetime.
Each one of us has one special person out there that can make us completely happy, fulfilled and content. A kind of everlasting 'love-at-first-sight' idea, that works effortlessly and everything will be fine… forever and ever and ever. Sadly, sex is currently collectively promoted, as the main way to find this ultimate, illusional and elusive partner. The crucial and all-important establishing and sustaining of relationships pales in comparison because it's all about immediate gratification and extended gratification is often regarded as a waste of valuable time and effort.
5.6 The Media
The media - and more recently also social media - has immense prestige and believability, and we tend to unconditionally believe what we are exposed to daily, without paying it any second thought, let alone questioning it. Thus, our perceptions, views, opinions and ideas on what is important or what should scare, outrage or worry us, are mainly determined by the frequency of information that we are “bombarded” with on a daily basis.
In conclusion… life should be perfect, happy, sane and content. There - always - should be no problems or any troubles, and things should go freakishly well all the time… and, when that isn't the case, we are to blame for our shortcomings. That firmly establish a personal PVC-view on life that are riddled with cognitive dissonances, because all of the aboveplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigMeritocracy, Culturetocracy, Individualism, Secularism, Romanticism and The Media. have some kind of value and merit at some point and time, but cannot be simultaneously true as it is usually “preached” as the only perfect way to go.
6. Dealing with Future Shock
To successfully (i.e. productively) address and deal with Future Shock entails much more than just the taking of the necessary actions or steps in order to reestablish
certaintyplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigAnd by implication our future security and predictability as well.
in our life's. It demands a mind shift and a subsequent perspective change to realize that a future no longer are solely depended on a future-ME, but requires a future-WE to successfully deal with an uncertain and confusing future. To really understand the context and point of view of this approach, would require plenty of research and reading lots of literature. However, a TED-talk delivered by Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks - How we can face the future without fear, together - provide a “nutshell” synopsis of why replacing a future-Me with a future-WE is much better philosophy of life (i.e. GPSplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigG • P • S
A much diluted and illustrative representation of the actual Human GPS System of Life.
In general terms the abbreviation GPS stands for the Global Positioning Satellite system that we use to “pin point” our geographical position on this planet of ours. However, melancholycountless forceshappinesshappinesshappinessfundamental) to adopt…
What mostly gives rise to acute future shock is when there are conflicting messages between what the body communicates to the brainplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigOur Intriguing Brain!
In the 30+ odd years that I have practised as a psychologist, career- and life coach, there is one particular aspect of human behaviour that I found quite mystifying. People does dumb things (myself included), but - rather naivelyphenomenonawesomeidiotic and the messages that the brain communicates to the body. In cases of conflicting brain/body messages, our consciousness attaches more value and gives greater priority to body- than to brain messages. For this reason, the communication between the brain and body must be calibrated2) to prevent future shock from having a crippling effect on our performance.