It Really is a Brave New World
Remember playing outside in summer until nine or even ten o’clock at night because it was still light outside? Did you ever have your very own tree? Not any old tree, this was your home from home. The same tree you’d climbed for years now. So long had you climbed this tree that a human child shaped groove had etched itself in to its ancient trunk which you now called your own.
Did you ever make a ‘mixtape’ from the songs on the radio? Clicking ‘Play’ and ‘Record’ on your Dads HiFi throughout the song to record it on to a cassette tape, and then pausing it when the DJ spoke in between tracks? Girls how many pretend cups of tea did you drink? How many ‘Macarena’ type dance routines did you and your friends choreograph? Boys how many imaginary enemy soldiers did you shoot with your sticks? How many famous football players did you transform in to?
Did you, like most children before the digital age, create worlds in your mind and then fill them with your imaginations like an infant version of ‘Inception’?
Well, unfortunately, it seems those days are gone folks…
Children nowadays play ‘Mine Craft’ and create digital worlds on their ‘XBox One’ filling them with in-house purchases of pixelated farm animals, buildings and building materials and tools. Most children haven’t ever climbed a tree, let alone spent a whole Saturday lazing in one, missing lunch and being late for dinner. And any child outside after nine o’clock at night, whether it’s summer or not, “shouldn’t be out at this time, it’s not safe!”
Now our children ‘Snapchat’ each other or ‘like for a rate’ on Facebook. They obsess over viral video fads on YouTube of the latest saying, phrase or nomination challenge. Our children now want a ‘selfie’ taken with their parents, enquiring later on about how many likes or retweets it received. Where once young people of all ages explored their minds and their creativity, they now associate their thoughts with URL links and the opening sentence from a Wikipedia post.
What happened to us? Why have our children lost touch with their own sense of imagination and creativity and since when did it become too unsafe for children to play outside no matter what time of year it was? Have we really stood by and watched as children, in our western ‘developed’ culture, have had their imaginations replaced by simulations? Have we seriously, somehow, side stepped in to a parallel universe where children are as image conscious as adults, seeking attention online with pictures of themselves? And if so, what could that mean for our future?
I believe, and I want to stress that it’s merely a belief, that the future of our society rests in the hands of adults who, from an early age, learned to be captivated less by creation and more by consumerism and self idolisation. A generation of doctors and police men and women with triggers and associations based not on ye old moral fibre and good noble virtue, but instead on social media, interactive game consoles and cultural media and propaganda.
Some say, in the odd article here and there that I have read, that it was the baby boomers that created a millennial monster by passing down trillions in debt. Others, mainly the baby boomers, suggest that this is merely the symptoms of some sort of new age liberal laziness.
Both of those justifications sound absurd to me. There are only so many genuine fads, phases and phenomena that could possibly occur in reality on a weekly basis but somehow our current ‘free’ press and it’s mainstream media seem to be able to conjure up these ‘happenings’, creating more and more distractions every week, and somehow, we lap it up. Especially kids.
Schools in the UK now teach lessons on Islamic Extremists blowing up the twin towers in 2001 despite the fact that no evidence has ever been taken to court to substantiate the claim and not a single Islamic ‘terrorist’ has ever been convicted of any crime linked to the bombings in New York on September the 11th. In fact nearly all the original detainees that were arrested in connection with terrorist attacks in the early part of the millennium, that were then hauled off to Guantanamo Bay in orange suits for years, have been released.
Now I’m not proposing that these people where innocent or that this knowledge shouldn’t be shared with children. But do we really need to create a world filled with evil men and women who hate us ‘westerners’ when we, adults, aren’t even really sure of the facts ourselves? And if that is the case and we don’t have all the facts then why would we put these topics on a curriculum for children to learn?
It’s bad enough that we as a global population are subjected to a continuous onslaught of ‘terror’ based news reports let alone feeding it to our children when they go to school. And again, I’m not disputing that these events are real I just don’t see the point in obsessively oppressing us with stories on TV and in the news as a reminder of how terrifying the world is. Especially when it’s then influencing a whole generation from an extremely impressionable age.
This is why we have a completely disengaged, disenfranchised and uninterested population of young people; because they’ve had the worst beginnings imaginable in to this life in terms of building trust and developing a sense of love for your fellow human being. Things that used to seem so normal, like talking to people you don’t know while you wait for a bus, seem so alien and detached from reality to a sixteen year old these days. Especially one whose Mother was worried sick about Osama Bin Sadam or Jihadi Krishna or whoever it was when she was breast feeding. How can we trust if we are taught that trust is conditional?
In the infinite wisdom of John Lennon ‘the love you take is worth the love you make’ so don’t blame the millennial kids when we have a future leading class who seem a tad distrusting in twenty years, scared of the world, anticipating the next global terror threat because they weren’t shown a loving world. And don’t blame the baby boomers who followed suit the same as the rest of us always did and do, ‘asking how high?’ when the media machine says ‘jump!’ The simple fact is there is an inherent flaw in our system that creates these and a myriad of other catastrophic issues. It’s just such a shame that our children are now consciously aware of it on some level.
I know I wasn’t when I was sat up in that tree…