Ruination of Imagination

If you are 23 years or younger you may be vaguely insulted by this post perhaps without really realizing its point because, through no fault of your own, modern media have mollycoddled you into a false, safe space where, in order to survive, you only need to agree with what has come before.

You need not worry about indecision or creating thoughts of your own because you are no longer required, as a member of your generation, to innovate or create or to abstractly think constructively. For those of us who were raised on radio and not music videos we know one undeniable thing: Music videos have ruined the imagination of our young people. Imagination runs from definition and does not like parameters or settled ideas.

Music videos, as a matter of being, defeat those terms of imagining, and the result is a paralysis of innovative thought. When we listen to songs on the radio or when we watch a band in performance, we bring our own emotional meaning and mental images to the melody and we imprint those experiences as memories. We reflect on previous moments of our lives with those touchstone memories that can change and stretch as we grow older.

Children who have been raised on music videos for the past 23 years have no ability to let their imaginations define the inner meaning of songs because the music video director has done that for them: There is a story, a plot and a series of images that are pre-packaged and pre-defined for consumption and remembering. MTV music videos are the Swanson TV dinners for an entire generation and neither videos nor TV dinners are sustaining or fulfilling. That lack of imagining songs on an individual level has a more frightening and insidious meaning beyond music.

Young people today only know what is told to them. They do not care to understand how one idea can have several meanings depending on experience and inner values and how there must be many paths to one truth. They instead seek to find definition of meaning on a mass level for comfort and for fitting in and the only thinking required of them is the agreement to agree.

These young people are not free-wheeling thinkers; they cannot imagine more than one solution to a problem and for them to even consider the idea that sometimes 2+2=5 is as horrendous and distasteful for them as having to provide their own inner meaning for a song.

Convincing others their personal view can require a wider need beyond the innate is as
foreign to them as a sliver in a newborn’s finger.  How can we encourage our young people to reignite their imagination from the ruins? The answers are easy and impossible: Turn off the television. Read books instead of watching music videos. Listen to the radio. Never take anything at face value. Live a cynical life.

Believe nothing is true until you find out the facts for yourself.  These answers are tall orders for parents who, more and more, give up their parental rights and the welfare of their children to a babysitter that is a television and to a morality that is merely handed down and repeated by rote by the media instead of being taught and lived by example in person.