Dump Shock

DumpShock - the stress of rapidly and unexpectedly leaving the MentalStateCalledFlow.

The term actually comes from the ShadowRun table-top role-playing game, but it holds true in the real world. In Shadowrun, it refers to the disorientation you get when somebody unplugs your head from the 'net.

In the real world, DumpShock is the disorientation somebody gets when they are in the MentalStateCalledFlow, and some external stimulus breaks you out of it. Such stimuli include somebody coming up behind you and saying something to you, a phone ringing, a dog tugging at your leg, or the power going out.

In the MentalStateCalledFlow, you often leave the physical world behind. When I am there, there is no body, no peripherals, often no mind beyond solving the immediate problem - just a nameless mind in seemingly telepathic communion with the computer. When somebody stops by to say "hi", I break out of it and instantly develop fingers, toes, eyes that can't focus well, ears, mortgage payments, and all that assorted stuff that comes from being a human being. The discontinuity of it is jarring, and I often physically lurch.

You don't get DumpShock if you can prepare for it. If you decide to leave the MentalStateCalledFlow due to an e-mail, difficulty solving the current problem, or something coming from either inside you or from the computer, you just let go, take a deep breath, and return to the world of the living. But when you are not prepared, you get the jarring DumpShock.

-- RobMandeville

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.

After beginning to write Kubla Khan in the summer of the year 1797, the Author was unfortunately called out by a person on business from Porlock, and on his return to his room, found, to his no small surprise and mortification, all the rest had passed away! (Thanks, of course, to DirkGently, who managed to save the whole history of the world in the process)

Held within the pleasure-dome
Decreed by Kubla Khan
To taste my bitter triumph
As a mad immortal man
Nevermore shall I return
To walk these caves of ice!
For I have dined on honeydew
And drunk the milk of paradise

--Neil Peart (Rush)


I'm so glad to hear I'm not the only person who gets this reaction when someone bangs open the computer room door and says something. -- ShaeErisson

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