Ramble Alert: I’m probably going to be ramblier than usual.
The genesis of these somewhat ambiguous ramblings is my growing awareness of how differently my children’s generation thinks and behaves, to how my generation thinks and behaves. There’s always been a generation gap, but I have a feeling it’s wider than ever before. It’s like they are a completely different tribe. This generation has been influenced like no other by mass media, including state education. It’s interesting to observe that this is not just here in our Kiwi corner, but all throughout the western world.
Personally, I do my very best to avoid being influenced by popular cultural messages without examining them for their validity or usefulness. It’s actually very hard to do because I’m not a hermit. I watch TV, listen to the radio when I’m driving, flip through Facebook occasionally. Plus, I’m an editor, so it would be silly to ignore what’s going on out there. I’d get fired. Wait, I’m self-employed. Yeh, nah, I’d still fire myself if I lived in a bubble and called myself an editor.
The popular ideas of our society are transmitted 24/7 through mass media, in a circular, self-validating fashion. As members of society we are all influenced in varying degrees by what we hear, see, and read, and even further by how widely-accepted the ideas are by our peers and those we look up to. We process these ideas through our own personal filters built up over the years since before we were even born. These filters are part of our ‘belief system,’ a very powerful force in the life of every single person on the planet.
In spite of being in charge of our very own belief system, it’s surprising that we don’t take more care in what we feed it. But with the pressures and stresses of everyday life, we unconsciously ingest ideas like our morning Weetbix, just spooning it in while watching the morning news on TV. We accept them as our reality, the new reality of modern times. Life as it is now. “Aah well,” we sigh, unaware that we have allowed our thinking to be infiltrated without too many checks and balances.
The difference in society is profound, from when I was a young adult to now (ok, yes, an old(er) adult). And not only in our little Kiwi society, but with the increase in technology we now find ourselves part of a global society. We can feel big and little all at the same time.
If you were around in the sixties, seventies and eighties you will know the difference I’m talking about. If you were not around then, you may remember this little editorial at some point in the future when you have your own “back in my day” epiphany. Don’t snigger behind your hand; I assure you, it will come.