A Book that Questions our Electronic Age |Review of “The Age of Earthquakes: A Guide to the Extreme Present” (2015) Shuman Basar, Douglas Coupland, Hans Ulrich Obrist – Blue Rider Press


For those of us who manage to find the time (and a space filled with solitude) to carefully ponder the world around us through a printed page, know the feeling of uneasiness that we feel for the present world. Things are changing. Our minds are changing.  Our feelings are changing. But how? Reading and pondering The Age of Earthquakes: A Guide to the Extreme Present may be that starting point for a discussion on our changing society.

(Excerpt) page 6-7

So here’s the thing: The bulk of human activity is the creation and moving of information.

Twenty years ago the Internet used zero per cent of human energy consumption.

Today, the digital economy uses 10 per cent of the world’s electricity.

It’s the same amount that was used to light the entire planet in 1985.

It was a shame to pull those words out of the book and post them like that. This book is published in a non linear format. Words are plastered over images and sentences have different font sizes to emphasize different points. It is a challenge to read this book at times. A reader may turn the book around in order to read a phrase or squint to read a smaller print, but the mind is engaged by needing to do those acts, making this book a thoughtful read.

Scanned image from The Age of Earthquakes


Many other readers have said they enjoyed the fact they are able to open this book anyway and start reading. While that may be true, I still was glad of the fact that I read the book through first and then went back reading selected sections.

Scanned image from The Age of Earthquakes

 There is some extended thoughts and items worth pondering about here. While it looks like a quick read, it isn’t. The ideas can be read quickly but need some deep reflection afterwards.

Romantic Denial (n.)

Dislike of having the traditional notion of personality reduced to a set of brain and body functions. Rilke said that if we lose our demons we lose our gods, too. However, even if we stripped all human behavior down to a table of contents of structural and chemical functions, it wouldn’t change the fact that we’re human.

The Age of Earthquakes: A Guide to the Extreme Present is oddly enough a book that questions some of the major facets of the digital age. It visually-grabbing and thought-provoking. An interesting read for sure.

Link to Shumon Basar’s WordPress site “Yourheadisthewholeworld”

Link to Douglas Coupland’s Website

Link to the Wikipedia page on Hans Ulrich Obrist

Link to Penguin/Random House Canada’s page for The Age of Earthquakes


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