Future Shock

toffler by Giulia Forsythe

Future Shock is a book written by the futurist Alvin Toffler in 1970. In the book, Toffler defines the term ‘future shock’ as a certain psychological state of individuals and entire societies. His shortest definition for the term is a personal perception of ‘too much change in too short a period of time.’ The book, which became an international bestseller, grew out of an article ‘The Future as a Way of Life’ in ‘Horizon’ magazine in 1965.

Toffler argues that society is undergoing an enormous structural change, a revolution from an industrial society to a ‘super-industrial society.’ This change will overwhelm people, the accelerated rate of technological and social change leaving them disconnected and suffering from ‘shattering stress and disorientation’ – future shocked. Toffler stated that the majority of social problems were symptoms of the future shock. In his discussion of the components of such shock, he also popularized the term ‘information overload.’

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