Team 5 Synthesis

We covered the preface and chapters one and two of Rushkoff’s Present Shock. Throughout our discussion we addressed our three keywords—narrative collapse, digiphrenia, and present shock—that we had previously defined. Our topics of conversation were all overlapping due to the nature of the terms and concepts. For example, we used the example of digiphrenia being a disconnect between digital and actual self, which can also lead to what Rushkoff terms as present shock.

We more specifically discussed our ability (or lack thereof) to multitask with technology and/or humans. While some of us believed that there is a hierarchical structure between the tasks that were being juggled where one task became priority, others thought that everything suffered as a result of split attention. For example, if you’re watching a movie and writing a paper, which will suffer or will they both?

We also talked about today’s politics and how that related to narrative collapse as described by Rushkoff. Because we are constantly responding to things that demand our immediate attention, we no longer have the ability to proactively prevent bad things from happening. Because of the quick relay of information, politicians are facing a great deal of pressure to respond to crises in a hurried fashion. If he/she fails to do so, we see them as a weak leader, which may be an unfair judgment when compared to leaders from 30+ years ago that may have had a few days to a week to formulate their response and plan of attack on whatever situation is at hand.

Our last major topic was that of gaming as a solution to present shock. We talked a lot about the development of video games and how they have matured in graphics and subject matter, from my understanding. They have also evolved into different types of games (from Pacman to Grand Theft Auto, for example), however the lack of narrative within them can provide an appropriate bridge from digital world to real world.

Like I said, our terms often intertwined in their definitions and connotations, but most often we came back to the term “digiphrenia,” which is characterized by those disconnects between digital and real self. It’s a hard line to draw between digital and real self and an even harder one to find if it isn’t initially clearly drawn.