Episode 29 - Present Shock, Corporitism, and Life in the Digital Media Environment with Douglas Rushkoff


Douglas Rushkoff is an American media theorist, writer, columnist, lecturer, graphic novelist, and documentarian. He is best known for his association with the early cyberpunk culture, and his advocacy of open source solutions to social problems.


  • Present shock is the human response to living in the world where everything is happening now.
    • Digital environment compared to Industrial environment or Agrarian environment. Bigger shift than just using digital tools.
    • Opportunity to transcend the “time is money” culture of efficiency we have inherited since the Renaissance.
    • Possibilities for embracing a very different set of principles and way of operating.
  • As of now we are using our best technologies to amplify and exacerbate the old models.
  • E-cigs have ~~~~no time~~~~.
    • A flow of nicotine vs a unit of nicotine.
  • “If in the end of the 20th century can be characterized by Futurism, the 21st can be defined by Presentism.”
  • Attentionalism.
  • Corporatism invented by old-blooded Lords and etc to turn a dynamic growing transactional economy into more of a storage based static economy to benefit themselves and their hold on power, wealth, and legacy.
  • Middle Ages. Charter Monopoly. Corporation to lock in a particular legacy.
  • Present Shock is a year old (or young?)
  • Seen any change since giving talks and people reading the book?
  • People who are reacting the most are businesses. “Real-time marketing, real-time brand experiences.” Then to PR firms thinking about crisis management. Real-time. Helps them communicate the notion that feedback.
  • Religions and socially conscious groups came on. “Day of national unplugging,” etc. Not really what Douglas arguing. More a “mindful cyborg” thing.
  • Quit being so dual
  • The Sabbath Revolt in Adbusters 
  • Lunar Clock on Etsy
  • “Narrative is replaced more by something like putting together a puzzle by making connections and recognizing patterns”
  • Fractals -- how’s this for woo-woo? 
  • Moon cycle stuff. There is woo aspects to this, to presentism. To shift labor problems, to jet lag, more.
  • “The more forcefully we attempt to stop the passage of time, the less available we are for the very moment we seek to preserve.”



Apophenia : the experience of seeing patterns or connections in random or meaningless data.