The Third Wave Podcast

What Does it Mean to Be Human?

Episode 68

Douglas Rushkoff

Douglas Rushkoff, best-selling author and one of the world’s ten most influential intellectuals, joins host Paul Austin to discuss what it means to be human. 

In a Western world beset by technological distraction and a never-ending thirst for more, what role do psychedelics play in cultivating mystery, awe, and reverence? Further, why is it so important to embrace these elements – mystery, awe, and reverence – as part of our human nature?

Named one of the “world’s ten most influential intellectuals” by MIT, Douglas Rushkoff is an author and documentarian who studies human autonomy in a digital age. His twenty books include the just-published Team Human, based on his podcast, as well as the bestsellers Present Shock, Throwing Rocks and the Google Bus, Program or Be Programmed, Life Inc, and Media Virus. He also made the PBS Frontline documentaries Generation Like, The Persuaders, and Merchants of Cool. His book Coercion won the Marshall McLuhan Award, and the Media Ecology Association honored him with the first Neil Postman Award for Career Achievement in Public Intellectual Activity.

Rushkoff’s work explores how different technological environments change our relationship to narrative, money, power, and one another. He coined such concepts as “viral media,” “screenagers,” and “social currency,” and has been a leading voice for applying digital media toward social and economic justice. He a research fellow of the Institute for the Future, and founder of the Laboratory for Digital Humanism at CUNY/Queens, where he is a Professor of Media Theory and Digital Economics. He is a columnist for Medium, and his novels and comics, Ecstasy Club, A.D.D, and Aleister & Adolf, are all being developed for the screen.

Podcast Highlights

  • Why Western civilization is in a “roid-rage” moment – and what it means for the potential collapse of our entire society
  • When the human story went from being circular to linear – and what this meant to the identity of each human being
  • Why Rushkoff isn’t optimistic about technology’s ability to solve technology’s problems

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