When Toffler wrote about Future Shock, many nodded sagely and then proceeded to murmur for years about how we were all survivng the realities of Future Shock. Of course, we were doing no such thing at all. It is only now that we are beginning to see the first real waves of Future Shock lapping at our toes and inundating our tangible assets and long held beliefs.
Future Shock is here. Why is its coming now as a surprise to us? Why were we so totally unprepared for what is now upon us? Is it just that the American, and perhaps the human mind, has an ferociously short memory and limited powers to envision changes we do not want to see? Whatever our age is, we are facing a future with a radically altered road before us. For those over fifty, this comes as a traumatic shock at a time when we are past our prime, with the spectre of downsiing and loss of employment bringing real terror. Regardless of our personal circumstances prior to the recent melt down of the American Dream, it was always out there, shiny and new, with a possibility, howeeer remote, that we could reach the shores of security and material splendor. Not so today.
Fot the young and early middled age, their worlds have taken a decidedly unpleasant turn, but they will adjust, and after a period of financial losses, may begin to rebuild again, in a way trhat is not open to older Americans. The most fatal thing that any of us can do is stay in denial of what has happened and the simple, indisputable fact that the landscape has permanently and irrevocably altered.
The new landscape is an opportunity to look with fresh eyes, at the world around us, knowing that our old ideas no longer apply, if we can summon the couage to see it that way. We must not allow Future Shock to become Future Paralysis.