attack_laurel (attack_laurel) wrote,

Why think? It only leads to trouble.

 Hmmm... ummm... er... yeah.

*thumb twiddle*

Thinking up things to write about is always a challenge; not because I can't write just about anything (it is, after all, my journal), but because I get big thoughts and want to communicate them so that all your heads swell up to massive size with all the enormous thinky-type stuff, and then explode.

Man, I loves me some head-explody.

But thinking - we regularly see articles and complaints and editorials and random bums on street corners screaming about how disconnected everyone has become.  How it's all teenagers plugged into their phones and i-whatsits, and plinking away on little miniature letters until their fingers go numb, and their eyes glaze over in a drooling text-coma.  How we're all plugged in, but so tuned out that we're unaware of anything except what happened last night on The Hills.  "No-one thinks any more!", they cry. 

The end of civilization has come, and we're all going to die.  No-one thinks.  All the pundits and people we pay to think for us are telling us so.

Myself, I wonder how anyone has any time to tune out, what with all the people nagging at us about how we're so shallow and unaware.  More, I am amazed that with all the scary things going on in the world today, and all of it beamed by satellite-real-time-right-now-OMGWTFBBQ-technology into our sitting rooms, that we haven't shut down completely and put our brains in storage for a time when things aren't so damned terrifying to think about.

I wonder that we haven't all buried ourselves in everything-proof underground bunkers and left the surface of the planet to the terrorists and assorted Pets Gone Wild - after all, aren't the terrorists winning?  Didn't Osama develop secret hurricane-wielding technology to destroy everyone in America?  And even if the terrorists don't win, the environment is very keen to kill us off with earthquakes, tornadoes, and sick chickens.

In times of great social upheaval, people seek escape.  The early 21st century world is a scary place, and if we try to absorb and care about every single thing that happens, well, talk about head-explody.  Television news actually helps with the disconnect even though bad news is all the news we generally get, because it flits from disaster to disaster, and never lets us think about any one thing for more than three days of intense round-the-clock coverage.  Tsunami in Asia! - no, wait - Hurricane Katrina! - no, wait - Earthquake in Pakistan! - uh... shootings! - um... death!  - disaster! - a different disaster! - ecological disaster! - code orange!  - wait, where were we?

Box of kittens!  Stat!

It probably shouldn't surprise us in the least that we're tuning out, especially our teenagers and young adults.  Every day, constantly, they're shown terrible events on every channel, and they're powerless to do anything about it.  The adults that were supposed to protect them and take care of the world until they were old enough to take over now tell them the world is falling to pieces, and there's going to be nothing left for future generations but a soggy landfill under three feet of poisoned seawater that's riddled with IEDs.  

Wouldn't you prefer to fill your head with music and pointless reality TV?  Flava Flav is making his harem eat huge chunks of brains and foie gras!  Gross!  Are the Kardashians really that stupid?  Wow!  Hey, look - Britney shaved her eyebrows off!  Oh, that girl!

The alternative is to spend all day listening to the older generation whine about how it isn't really their fault that the planet is running out of oil, and anyway, we make really great prosthetic limbs for returning soldiers these days, so it's not like your 20 year old brother is going to miss his leg that badly - he'll be like the Bionic Man!  And anyway, it's too hard to change everything, so you kids need to grow up and fix our mess, and hey... are you even listening?  Take that i-Pod out of your ears right now!  I swear, kids these days!

But I also think appearances can be deceiving - I think there are more socially committed people than are obvious at first glance.  We all need to escape, and in the current climate, adding the fears of a disintegrating global structure to the usual teenage fears and hormones makes a lot of people feel a powerful hankering for some mental down time.

Sure, we have idiot children who only live to imitate their favourite celebrity, who look on education as "nerdy".  We've always had them - 90% of the world can only follow, not lead, they're simply not cut out for that role.  But the trope of the millenial generation all being vapid celebrity worshippers who can't find Iraq on a map is very wrong.  Perhaps I'm being over-optimistic, but I really think this generation is, in part by neccessity, less self-centered and self-serving than the previous couple of generations.  

It's time we admitted that the navel-gazing of the Baby Boomers and the studied disassociation of Generation X are passe; perhaps we can allow the newest generation of young adults the respect they need to change things for the better, while allowing them their escapes.

And if I'm wrong, well - I know how to build a nifty home out of dumpster trash.  
Tags: intellectualism, teenagers, thought, tuning out
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