Hello, everyone. I am always delighted to have you here, taking note of the lint filter that is the tumbling dryer I call my brain. I do hope, by now, you’re getting comfortable with this new format. It’s nice, at least to me anyway, that I don’t have to set the camera just right, or have to bathe regularly just to offer my thoughts and opinions on things; and while I do indeed bathe regularly, I also want you to know that these are just my thoughts and opinions. They’re a part of who I am, and they are the end result of the observations I make, and as such, can be limited at times.
It’s the limitations that I want to talk about this week. As I’m sure you know, if you know me at all, I love to talk. While I’m a fairly proficient writer, most people don’t see what I’ve written. It could be because I choose to keep many of my writings tucked away for some grand scheme further into the future, or it could just be that most people don’t seem to find Ancient Egyptian mummies as the protagonists of various erotic novels to be their cup of tea. I get that. Though I really think you’re missing out.
No, I prefer to express myself in my writing, and in my speaking. As silly as it might seem to some, I like the idea that if something were to happen to me, something that would end my way of life, or even my life itself, I have this method of communication to leave behind; that I can leave my voice, and my words, to impart to you some manner of my thinking; that even if I’m gone, or incapacitated, I am not truly lost forever.
I consider those communication skills to be vital to how I test and observe the world around me. I use the feedback as a sounding board against my own thoughts and perceptions, and if I find that feedback to be well thought out, and well sourced, I will even adjust my opinions to that new point of view. That is the hallmark of effective communication, and I believe that it is crucial for us, in this generation, to pass on to the next generation that same skill set. That we bequeath to them the ability to fashion thoughts and ideas into words; into actions that can be taken.
This gets to the crux of my issue; I think we are failing, and it’s not solely at the feet of our generation, but to the previous generation. Those that firmly hold the reins of our first world as it is; that the vast ether they control is so completely engorged, and bloated with pablum; as to render inert the need for contextual communication. Why find new perspectives when all the top dollar companies want is pre-formed answers to fit into the box and marked with a check? There seems to be this pressing need to define our humanity into a preset shape, and to base everything we know and see off of that shape.
Consider this: Suppose you were asked by a survey taker the following question:
What do you prefer? Drinking acid, or standing in quicksand?
You answer “neither,” because either of these actions will likely kill you.
The survey taker replies, “That’s not an answer. Is it acid?”
You reply, “No.”
The survey taker says, “So, quicksand, then.”
Again, you answer “No.”
The survey taker replies, “So it’s acid.”
The point I’m making is that if your answer doesn’t fit into the molded criteria, the survey taker simply does not know how to respond, because that person has been trained to think only one way; to communicate only one way. I believe we are seeing the results of this today, in how we live, how we work, how we think. Look at this coming generation; They are still in school, and they are at that point where they should be utilizing their communication skills. Some do, of course, but I get this feeling that most simply regurgitate what they hear, rather than form new ideas. Yes, some of that can be attributed to simply wanting to get out of school, but I figure if better methods of communicating were used; for example, not treating all children as one cookie cutter person; we could better engage them. I know teachers that fight to do this every day, and they are hamstrung by administrations who feel that only one way is the right way.
I believe that will bring failure, that is will result in the narrowing of options, and end with a dearth of new ideas and different points of view. I believe that the gulf between our generation, and the new generation will widen, and it will be because the new generation won’t know what to do with the non-linear ideas, the different ways of thinking, that we’ve had the good fortune of taking for granted. We grew up out of Generation X, and as the next generation, we wanted to make our mark. We were different, we were unique; and so we expanded into the void; filling in gaps that no one seemed to fill, and now we enjoy the fruits of that expansion, but this coming generation takes all of that for granted, that these ideas will just keep coming. While we’re all consumers, many in this coming generation has grown on the idea that consuming IS the only option they really have.
I believe that we should encourage non-linear thinking; that teaching these young people how to effectively convey their thoughts and feelings should be paramount; we’re in an age, an information age, where ideas are flowing from every direction, but unless we teach them how to harness those ideas, think them through, examine them, and effectively communicate their points of view to others, in whatever medium they choose, then I believe that wellspring will dry up, and all we’ll have left will become stagnant. That, too, we see more and more often in our daily lives, whether it be entertainment, or employment.
So I have communicated with you, my displeasure at the idea of losing the free flowing fountain of creativity, and communication. I hope that it will end up being just some grumpy old man’s sorely cathartic rant. If it is, then I will be overjoyed to see what our future becomes, and if it isn’t, and you’re listening to this several decades from now, then just remember; I was the one that invented the iPod, and all royalties go to me. You’ll likely find me living under a bridge, in the nicest cardboard box on that block. Don’t leave the money with the wild eyed, crazy man in the blue coat, leave it with the wild eyed crazy man in the orange coat; the one playing with ponies.
So, until next time, remember to love one another, and be kind to one another.