TagDouglas Rushkoff

Mindful Cyborgs Interviews Douglas Rushkoff on Presentism

We’ve used the phrase “Present Shock” to describe what Mindful Cyborgs is about since the beginning. So obviously it was great to talk with Douglas Rushkoff, who coined the term in his book of the same title last year.

During the interview, we talked about presentism, e-cigarettes and the “male period” dictated by the lunar calendar.

Download and Notes: Mindful Cyborgs: Present Shock, Corporitism, and Life in the Digital Media Enviroment

Long Interview With Douglas Rushkoff On Present Shock

Douglas Rushkoff talks about Present Shock, quantification and more. Here’s a quote a I liked:

“Quantifying the entirety of reality isn’t as much of a problem as accepting that data set as reality. What happens is we lose awareness of access to all the nooks and crannies that haven’t been quantified.”

The Conversation: Douglas Rushkoff

Douglas Rushkoff Announced Next Book: Present Shock

Present Shock cover by Douglas Rushkoff

Douglas Rushkoff’s next book Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now will be published March 21, 2013.

Rushkoff discussed the idea of present shock back in 2010 The Edge Annual Question — 2010:

By surrendering my natural rhythms to the immediacy of my networks, I am optimizing myself and my thinking to my technologies — rather than the other way around. I feel as though I speeding up, when I am actually just becoming less productive, less thoughtful, and less capable of asserting any agency over the world in which I live. The result something akin to future shock. Only in our era, it’s more of a present shock.

I try to look at the positive: Our Internet-enabled emphasis on the present may have liberated us from the 20th century’s dangerously compelling ideological narratives. No one — well, hardly anyone — can still be persuaded that brutal means are justified by mythological ends. And people are less likely to believe employers’ and corporations’ false promises of future rewards for years of loyalty now.

But, for me anyway, it has not actually brought me into greater awareness of what is going on around me. I am not approaching some Zen state of an infinite moment, completely at one with my surroundings, connected to others, and aware of myself on any fundamental level.

Rather, I am increasingly in a distracted present, where forces on the periphery are magnified and those immediately before me are ignored.

He also discussed some of these themes in an interview in New Inquiry last May.

See also: Alex Pang‘s idea of Contemplative Computing. Pang has a book forthcoming as well.

New Dossier: Douglas Rushkoff

Douglas Rushkoff
Photo by Johannes Kroemer

I’ve posted another dossier, this one on 21st century Renaissance man Douglas Rushkoff.

Edge 2011: What Scientific Concept Would Improve Everybody’s Cognitive Toolkit?

The Thinker by Rodin

This year’s Edge question was: “What scientific concept would improve everybody’s cognitive toolkit?” There are some good but somewhat boring answers, like Susan Blackmore’s or Kevin Kelly’s. But here are some of the more interesting ones I found:

Stewart Brand: Microbes Run the World

Nicholas Carr: Cognitive Load

Aubrey de Grey: A Sense Of Proportion About Fear Of The Unknown

Jonah Lehrer: Control Your Spotlight

Evgeny Morozov: Einstellung Effect

Jay Rosen: Wicked Problems

Douglas Rushkoff: Technologies Have Biases

Nassim Taleb: Antifragility — or— The Property Of Disorder-Loving Systems

I would especially recommend reading both Carr’s and Lehrer’s.

There are a ton of these, so I haven’t read them all, so there could be some gems out there I missed. What are your favorites?

If I’d been asked, I’d have chosen one of the following:

1. The idea of systematic ideology – that people choose what to believe based on ideology, not reason (an idea also supported by research indicating that facts can actually backfire when trying to change someone’s mind). Systematic ideology, named by George Walford, was proposed in 1947 by Harold Walsby. The idea is now being pursued by the Cultural Cognition Project at Yale Law School, though they don’t use the term and may not be aware of Walsby’s and Walford’s work.

2. The Decline Effect.

Photo by Andrew Horne

3 Perspectives on #OccupyWallStreet

Local 40 Iron Worker at #OccupyWallStreet

(Photo via @Newyorkist)

John Robb on #OccupyWallStreet as an open source protest:

*A promise. A simple goal/idea that nearly everyone can get behind. Adbusters did pretty good with “occupy wall street.” Why? Nearly everyone hates the pervasive corruption of banks and Wall Street. It’s an easy target.

*A plausible promise. Prove that the promise can work. They did. They actually occupied Wall Street and set up camp. They then got the message out.

*A big tent and an open invitation. It doesn’t matter what your reason for protesting is as long as you hate/dislike Wall Street. The big tent is already in place (notice the diversity of the signage). Saw something similar from the Tea Party before it was mainstreamed/diminished.

Douglas Rushkoff:

Anyone who says he has no idea what these folks are protesting is not being truthful. Whether we agree with them or not, we all know what they are upset about, and we all know that there are investment bankers working on Wall Street getting richer while things for most of the rest of us are getting tougher. What upsets banking’s defenders and politicians alike is the refusal of this movement to state its terms or set its goals in the traditional language of campaigns.

That’s because, unlike a political campaign designed to get some person in office and then close up shop (as in the election of Obama), this is not a movement with a traditional narrative arc. As the product of the decentralized networked-era culture, it is less about victory than sustainability. It is not about one-pointedness, but inclusion and groping toward consensus. It is not like a book; it is like the Internet.

Justin Boland:

There’s a lot being written right now about what the #Occupy movement must do. What it should be, where it all needs to go. Yet somehow, everything that looked like a mistake at first has unfurled into an advantage. All any single #Occupy cell needs to do is hold their ground for another night, and plan to make tomorrow bigger and better. It’s easy to write a sneering caricature of a Tea Party rally, but it’s interesting to note how many reporters wrote mocking hit pieces on the Wall Street crowd that all wound up being completely different. It’s hard to get a bead on where the consensus is — but the occupation itself is the whole message. Nobody on Wall Street is confused about what it means, at least.

Douglass Rushkoff in Conversation with Genesis P. Orridge (2003 and 2007)

The Believer has finally published Douglas Rushkoff’s interview with Genesis P. Orridge, conducted in 2007 just after Genesis’ wife Lady Jaye passed away:

DR: But, then, Jackie’s passing. Do you experience that on two levels, then? On the level of half of the pandrogene?

GO: Yeah. But I also experience it as a person who is fifty-seven and has been indoctrinated for most of my life to accept a binary world. And feeling a great sense of loss just in a romantic way, as an emotional person. Conceptually, I see that she has just broken through the final perceptual barrier. The human species won’t exist if it carries on replicating pointlessly. I think it’s very clear what we were concerned about when we began this, which was the ever-increasing polarization and reduction of ideas into dogma and paranoia, and this posturing that there’s a right way and a wrong way: I’m right, you’re wrong, and therefore I must attack you. And the whole idea of Pandrogeny is to make that irrelevant, and to bypass that. If we were all pandrogynous, physically and/or mentally, it would be impossible to be at war, because there wouldn’t be a sense of difference all the time.

DR: So does the project continue? You as a lone pandrogene?

GO: It’s not convenient. Because there are lots of things we had in mind that would use both of us in the projects. So I have to try and figure out ways to represent those ideas anyway.

DR: Or start on the new ones. I mean, gender may be an artificial duality perpetrated by DNA and all… but what about death? That’s got to be the biggest, baddest duality of them all. It’s not so very hard to see through gender as a social construction. An illusory divide, like you’ve shown. But death is entirely more convincing. We die, and the people to whom we’ve passed our genes take our place. Death feels like DNA’s last laugh, its final tyranny over us.

The Believer: Douglass Rushkoff in Conversation with Genesis P. Orridge.

Arthur Magazine published another conversation between the two back in 2003. Once upon a time, Rushkoff, Genesis and Grant Morrison were planning to write a book together. It was meant to essentially be a collection of conversations between the three of them. The Arthur interview may give us a sense of what that book may have been like (and the plan for a book may help explain the preoccupation with co-authorship in the interview). It’s also interesting to Rushkoff talk about themes that later became the basis of his books Life Inc and Program or Be Programmed:

DR: That’s why for me the open-source software movement is such a terrific allegory and practice for accepting the fact that we live in a malleable reality. Or certainly for accepting that a hell of a lot more of our world is programmable software than we’ve previously thought. There might be some hardware down there somewhere, but we haven’t got close to that yet. People are starting to accept that they have indeed been the programmers, whether they were witting or not, and that they’re actively programming the world we live in. I think it’s healthy for people to realize this. I think that then they start to experience everything—from their bodies to the air we breathe—as a medium through which they can create and transmit their story.

G P-O: Absolutely. Well you know that Burroughs and Gysin used to say, In a pre-recorded universe, who made the first recording? I’ve thought about that a lot. And what it led me to wasn’t so much wondering about that question, because I think you’re right, it doesn’t matter, actually, but what it did make me realize is that the entire planet is a recording device. That, as you and I are speaking now, on this planet, there is, certainly it seems that way, and we’ll probably find more, there’s some kind of data recorded—whether it be fossils, geological strata—

DR: [laughing]: Or the digital cassette that we’re recording on right now.

See also: my interview with Rushkoff.

A.D.D: Forthcoming Vertigo Comic by Douglas Rushkoff

ADD

DC has posted details about Douglas Rushkoff’s forthcoming collaboration with Goran Sudzuka and Jose Marzan, Jr, scheduled for January 2012:

The Adolescent Demo Division (A.D.D.) are the world’s luckiest teen gamers. Raised from birth to test media, appear on reality TV and enjoy the fruits of corporate culture, the squad develop special abilities that make them the envy of the world—and a grave concern to their keepers.

One by one, they “graduate” to new levels that are not what they seem. But their heightened abilities can only take them so far as the ultimate search for their birth families proves to be a most harrowing discovery.

Update: It’s now available for purchase

Plan the Government-less Internet at Contact

Contact is an unconference organized by Douglas Rushkoff on the subject of building new, government-less Internets. The event will be held in New York City on October 20 2011.

Here’s part of Rushkoff’s explanation of the event:

At the epicenter of CONTACT will be the Bazaar – a free-form marketplace of ideas, demos, haggling, and ad-hoc connections. If you have visited the Akihabara, Tokyo’s ultra-vibrant open-air electronics market, or the under-the-highway open-air jade market of Kowloon, or even the Burning Man festival, you understand the power of combining commerce, physical location, and serendipity. A decidedly unstructured counterpart to the convened meetings, solo provocations, and the MeetUpEverywheres, the Bazaar will bring p2p to life, encouraging introductions, brokering, deal-making, food-tasting, and propositions of every kind. It is where the social, business, political, and spiritual agendas merge into one big human agenda.

Contact will hope to revive the spirit of optimism and infinite possibility of the early cyber-era, folding the edges of this culture back to the middle. Social media has come to be understood as little more than a marketing opportunity. We see it as quite possibly the catalyst for the next stage of human evolution and, at the very least, a way to restore p2p value exchange and decentralized innovation to the realms of culture, commerce and government.

Content was never king. Contact is. Please join us, and find the others.

Shareable: The Evolution Will Be Socialized

See also: 3 Projects to Create a Government-less Internet and 4 More Projects to Create a Government-less Internet

Douglas Rushkoff Interviews Harvey Pekar – in Comic Form

Pekar project with Douglas Rushkoff

Pekar Project: PEKAR & RUSHKOFF KIBBITZIN’ HOW LIFE GOT INCORPORATED

(via Dangerous Minds)

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