As darkness slipped across the city like jell-o across an ice rink the night sprang to life with all manner of people and creatures; the big, the small, the slimy, the significant, the beautiful, the strange and the utterly confused. With a flourish Imagination stepped out of a shabby apartment building. He looked around with a smug satisfaction before turning down a particularly dark and dank alley where no one of sound mind would ever venture alone.
In predictable fashion out from the shadows slinked a nefarious individual with malice on it’s mind. The dark creature didn’t wait on anything, didn’t hesitate because it thrived on the instantaneous, on the need for gratification at the speed of light. A blade flashed and Imagination found himself on the ground in an ever expanding pool of blood as the creative catalyst of the world seeped across a dark alley in the middle of the City of Nowhere.
Maybe I’m being overly dramatic. Of course Imagination isn’t completely dead. If it was this would be a boring and non-existent blog post. I have three children, aged 2, 4 and 7. For the past five years I’ve worked at an arts college, first in marketing and then as a student advisor. I remember having imaginary friends when I was a kid, I remember making up stories and playing pretend. The combination of having my own children and working with post secondary students has made me realize that Imagination isn’t what it used to be.
Why is this? It’s actually a simple answer, the world changed. Blink, and you missed it.
While this makes me sound a lot like my granddad it begs to be explained: Growing up we didn’t have high powered computers (my first one used cassette tapes to load games), or cell phones, or the internet! Everything now is instantaneous, at your finger tips, right now, yesterday, before you’ve even thought of something, it’s already been developed, downloaded and given to you! And because of this development the next generation expects everything presented to them. In educational institutions they’re calling it the ‘Generation of Entitlement’.
The misfortune we’re about to discover in around ten to twenty years (if my highly conceptualized formulas are correct…despite failing math in high school) is a severe decline in Imagination. If you can live different lives through computer games, if you don’t need to interact socially thanks to the internet, if your future career goals are determined by standardized testing then why bother thinking at all?
While imagination won’t be dead…it’s probably going to be living on a hefty life support system (which will be supported by several apps…available from the itunes store).
We’ll have to agree to meet back here in fifteen years to see if it’s true. Bring cookies.