The Future Shock author leaves behind a massive cultural legacy.
Another traveler left the good ship Mother Earth today with the passing of pathbreaking futurist writer and thinker, Alvin Toffler. Toffler penned a number of books during his lifetime, most notably the 1970 blockbuster, Future Shock co-authored with his wife, Heidi. Future Shock set a benchmark for futurist writing and went on to inspire people of all walks of life—The Belleville Three reference it in many early Detroit techno records, Herbie Hancock named an album after it, Orson Welles (see above) made a movie about it and Newt Gingrich has long been a confirmed fan.
Toffler was born in New York City in1928 to Jewish Polish parents. As the Guardian reports, “He graduated from New York University, was a Marxist and union activist in his youth, and continued to question the fundamentals of the market economy long after his politics moderated. He knew the industrial life firsthand through his years as a factory worker in Ohio.” One of his enduring legacies was a natural understanding of the manner in which future events would unfold. He did this while remaining skeptical of forces in the world that were too confident in their own ability to predict or control the future. “We made the mistake of believing the economists of the time,” Toffler told Wired magazine in 1993. “They were saying, as you may recall, ‘We’ve got this problem of economic growth licked. All we need to do is fine-tune the system.’ And we bought it.”
Toffler died in his sleep at his home in Bel Air. He was 87.
Click here to learn how Toffler influenced the progressive music and arts festival, Unsound.