Whatever happened to the “Occupy Movement”? The Arab Spring of the west? Is it still around? Or has it met its demise just as the Arab Spring did when the wolves in sheeps’ clothing took over? For a while, aided by the bursting sub-prime mortgage housing bubble, this plaintive cry of indignation went global, gathering support from commoners all over. Little folk camped out in the cold. Sheep don’t exist on Wall Street, neither are sheeps’ clothing worn there, so the wolves just waited it out.

Occupy had started off impromptu in September 2011, without any easily identifiable goals. Folk camped out rain in New York’s Zucotti Park and raised slogans against inequality and injustice, as if matters had somehow at last reached a tipping point, like global warming. Al Gore’s tipping point has been arriving for the past fifteen years, since he made it his mission.

Even the Almighty didn’t think much of the Occupy Movement. Wait, let’s just call it the OM. I hate expending energy unnecessarily. He brought down a deluge on the very first night, soaking the few who’d decided to remain in that park. He, after all, hasn’t lifted one finger over the centuries, to stamp out inequality. Oh, I forgot, He has already given us the tools for our salvation and then placed us inside Daedalus’ labyrinth. For the past ten millennia, He has been sitting back with His chalice of ambrosia in hand, watching the minotaur chase us through the never ending gullies.

In case you don’t happen to know the latest on the OM, don’t fret. It is difficult to say what the current status is with anything these days. One day they’re there right on the front pages where they hang around a while and are soon gone, replaced, swept away by fresher meat, to feed our ever shrinking attention span. Lindsay Lohan might even be under some kind of a contract to periodically behave shockingly. CNN’s brainchild, round-the-clock news, is now another form of entertainment and the payoff has to be virtually instantaneous in order to justify our attention.  Nowadays, I walk around with a camera in my pocket. It’s easy. One click at an old lady being run over by an SUV might turn me into a millionaire.

You’re beginning to wonder what I’m getting at. I have been rambling for four paragraphs, which is a long while by today’s attention spans. My attention has wavered to something else already since I started this paragraph. Think I have ADHD? We all have ADHD, trust me.

Actually I was going to talk about a new book, ‘Present Shock – When Everything Happens Now’. (I haven’t read it. You think I’m crazy? The only non-fiction that holds my attention span is a maximum two-page book review). They say ‘Present Shock’ is a contemporary sort of state-of-the-union address for the futuristic 1970s book ‘Future Shock’, by Alvin Toffler, about a future world after it has undergone too much change in too little time, leaving people, especially older folk, bewildered, disconnected and stressed out. I haven’t read Future Shock either. I can’t read anything beyond 200 pages and Future Shock is thicker than my fist. Besides, why would I read something that I can already feel in real time? If you gave me Future Shock, I’d use it as a fly swatter. Who needs to read anything when I can turn out a knowledgeable piece like this one just by trolling the net and Wikipedia?

Image

Anyway, WSJ, NYT and Forbes all say Present Shock is great read. It’s all about living in the ultra-fast moment of instant gratification. The world in Alvin Toffler’s futuristic vision has arrived and we are living through those times right now.

Through PS (sorry, don’t have the time to tap Present Shock) I came across some zany terms. Like digiphrenia , doing multiple things at the same time in a permanently chaotic state, like a canoeing through the rapids after leaving the  calmer waters upstream. Then there’s fractalnoia which means oversimplifying the big picture, recognizing patterns when there are none and always believing in conspiracy theories.

There’s also overwinding , but  I still can’t figure out what the fookin’ word means, even after pouring through five reviews.

Think I’m Present Shocked already?

————————————————

© 2013 Achyut Dutt.