So the question has occurred to us: Why is it that some people seem to get along with the new accelerating pace of change, while others simply can't take the step?
Intelligence doesn't explain it. Neither does education level. Age seems to be a factor, but the stereotype of the "out-of-it" senior citizen is simply inadequate to explain this split (i.e., there are lots of people who are older, sharp as tacks, yet nervous and hostile and inept when it comes to keeping up with the new opportunities and developments in the wired world).
Today's answer (developed by me and J, in the car, whilst agreeing that "meatspace is poorly organized"): It's not personal; it's cultural.
As in: We each grew up with an internalized sense of how rapidly things change, with unconscious norms that suggest what constitutes "novelty" and "reliability." How many times do you have to hear about a thing before you determine that it's worthy of your attention? What's a "fad" to you? What's credible? Thusly: People refuse adjust to the modern pace of tech/cultural change in part because they're culturally conditioned to pay attention to things only when they've worked their way through various cultural filters. We don't want to have to choose for ourselves -- we want the culture to vet new information for us. Without those cultural cues, people are simply lost, frightened and angry.
And here's what's worse (and we both know lots of people in this category): People resent the fact that things are changing. As in (and this is the one we hear over and over): "I'm X years old and I've been working here for Y years! Why do I have to learn this new software?" Why the ridiculous, self-centered attitude? Because that's the expectation they grew up with: You get to a particular stage of life and you finally start to collect the benefits of your hard work. You get to coast. You don't have to start over.
OK, new rules: You do have to start over. The old, unconscious rules of novelty/reliability are now obsolete and self-destructive. The old values may be fine, but the "old verities" are not compatible with the new operating system. If you think the world is out of control, it's because you're not participating in it, and that's your choice. But don't resent it because you've decided to hold your breath until the world conforms to your expectations.
Don't like the new world? Grow up. Make a better one. Here are the tools.