Wednesday 13 January 2016

Are We Losing Our Imagination?

You may think - wtf are you talking about C R? Our imaginations are fine and dandy.

But are you right? Studies have shown that kids have less imagination than they did in the 1970s.

Are we losing our ability to imagine things?

Shakespeare's plays were originally performed in broad daylight. There were no microphones to boost the actor's voices. There was no set design to speak of.

Effects were limited to the most rudimentary of noises and props that could be flung together on a relatively small budget in the 1500 and 1600s.

Needless to say, there was no soundtrack, no opening credits, and very rarely was there scenery.

This wasn't the case simply for a few rich snobs who thought they were chocolate because this was 'art' and they could afford theatre tickets - oh no, this was the entertainment of the masses.

The audience had to imagine more.

So, without all of the bells and whistles, the audience had to engage more with the story, and with the acting, albeit they had were quite harsh critics (throwing rotten vegetables at bad actors - an early way to lessen food waste >.< )
colourful lights abstract

Imagination is a muscle.

Imagination has been compared time and time again to a muscle. If you use it, it grows and develops; if you don't, it wastes away.

People in the 1800s didn't 'scare easy,' when they found Dracula and A Christmas Carol terrifying - they just had imaginations that were far more active than our own.

Likewise, visual effects that seemed realistic and cutting-edge in the mid-20th century now look unbelievable and, often, a little sad.

People weren't more gullible in the past, their imaginations just did the work for them.

We feed our imaginations on junk food.

No-one minds a bit of junk food now and then: but all day, every day? No wonder our imaginations are feeling the strain (and yes, I'm mixing metaphors - and I don't care!)

It's not only our imaginations feeling the effects of our instant gratification culture - our attention spans, lets face it, are down-right atrocious.

fun doodles notebook illustrationsSo, letting the media we consume (and let's face it, we consume a lot of it,) constantly do our work for us, is not good for either our attention spans or our imaginations.

But neither do we have to be saintly lords and ladies from the days of yore (you know, yore, what a bore, yore! Yes, I heard it. Clearly this is another side-effect of too much interwebs... and there may have been coffee... again.)

No, we don't have to act like we rolled out of bed in the 1500s complete with skirts and/or codpiece (I'm not here to judge.) I just think we need to cool it occasionally, and make our brains actually work for those yummy hits of dopamine.

In the long run, you'll be better off for it.

But don't let me have all the opinions! Do you agree? Disagree? Somewhere in between?

Do we need to rescue our imaginations from the pit of quick video-clips and reality TV? Or is it good riddance to bad abstract nouns?

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