Losing creativity in a creative world.

Today’s Blogathon theme is inventions, the exact idea was extinct inventions but as the person who came up with today’s theme I’m going to go off track a little.

Some inventions in this world are magnificent and it’s hard to understand how we lived without them, e.g. cars, penicillin, mobile phones. Then there are others that are part of the same thing but have been replaced, e.g. records, tapes, CDs and perhaps one day MP3s.

Then there are some inventions which are encroaching on our lives so fast that it’s hard to see how the world will ever be as it was.

Yes, I’m looking at you Apple, with your smart phones. I’m also looking at Sony and Microsoft and every single company in this world that has created an electronic item used for pleasure. Mobile phones may have revolutionised the world, but I believe it’s also contributing to its downfall.

Time being a big one. What did people do before phones? They stood outside shops waiting for friends to turn up; they sat on trains and actually spent time thinking, or talking to strangers. They walked round to someone else’s house instead of phoning them up.

Today we’re permanently attached to every electronic item we can get our hands on and in turn constantly attached to some people in our lives. I’m not saying I’m not one of those people because I am. I’m writing this on my computer, I’ll probably read comments on my iPod and the other day I wrote the majority of my blog on my HTC android smart phone.

I am part of the technology generation and in many way I love it. But I also know that it’s not necessarily the greatest thing to ever grace this world.

I believe that inventions affect imagination.

Games consoles, animated films, computers…children don’t know how to entertain themselves anymore. They get bored so easily. Sit a child in a room with a cardboard box and what will they do? Probably complain they’re bored. What did I do when I a child faced with a cardboard box? I played with it.

I’m reminded constantly of the amount of toys that children have. Christmas isn’t a time to be told “sorry, Father Christmas couldn’t get you everything you wanted”; it’s a time for children to be spoilt rotten. I spent most of my childhood wanting the Playmobil Mansion and to this day I still haven’t got it. Nowadays I look at my cousins who will probably never have a toy they didn’t eventually get.

(This is the Playmobil Mansion, it’s now on my list of things to do in life, to own one.)

I remember the countless things I did as a child, involving sleeping in the airing cupboard, making dens in my bedroom, under one of my beds, under the dining room table and more importantly, outside of the house. I remember one summer running around the fields near my school (before they all got metal fences around them – now that’s an invention I wish didn’t exist). There were two different areas we made dens and we lived in them for a few hours, pretending that it was our home. We even had a toilet and had the sense to make the place we actually used a distance away from out den.

I worry about the next generation, not just because they’re often not allowed out far enough away from their home to go build a den at aged ten, but that they’re not even all allowed to play on their own street. So really, it’s no wonder that they’re too busy playing with games consoles and computers to be able to make up a new world for themselves to play in.

I remember when I stayed with a family in Maryland in the USA a few years ago. They had little girls who I’d spent parts of my summer with. Aged six and four they were prime age to become the next owners of a Nintendo DS or whatever the latest handheld games are. Most of my six year old Beaver Scouts probably have handheld games; but not these children, not that I could see. They had a play room full of clothes and though I would say that they too were spoilt, like many children in Britain, they also know how to play. We played games where I was the Queen and we would make believe, like children should.

When I think about imagination I think of cardboard boxes and what a person can do with one simple, cheap object. You can build a house, you can sail a ship, you can live like a homeless person if you really want. The fact of the matter is, you can pretend.

I think of people like the Beckhams who once bought their children a wooden boat to go in their garden. Those children will always want for nothing, but at what expense? I’m not sure having a wooden boat in your garden is quite the same as creating one out of boxes.

It makes me feel very sad and almost afraid for the future because the people now inventing these amazing electronic items are adults who grew up on imagination. They grew up playing with cardboard boxes and wooden toys long since extinct in place of cheap, plastic objects that usually break pretty quickly. There was the odd invention, such as the very first Game Boy which probably captured many of their attentions. But they were able to make believe and see the world however they wished to see it and now children don’t have time to use their brains. They don’t have the opportunity to see boxes as fun, or trees as dens, or the space under their bed as a new place to sleep. The next generation don’t have to be creative because everything is right before their eyes and if it’s not, they just have to ask their parents to make sure it is for their next birthday or Christmas.

So I worry about the next generation of inventors. What will they invent? How will they invent? How will they think of their own ideas when they don’t even know how to make believe?

Today’s other blogs:

lilmisskaty – What’s a book?

katysense – coming soon!

catnipfields – coming soon!

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2 thoughts on “Losing creativity in a creative world.

  1. Such a thought provoking blog, I’d never really thought about how important the creation of imagination to future inventions. Once again I consider myself lucky to come from a family where playdough and fancy dress are normal everyday activities. We were always making dens, going out exploring and using our imaginations, something I know is encouraged in my nieces and nephews as well. I began telling my nephew a story when I was around 9 (making him 3) and the same story (though tweaked slightly) is now told by Josh (now 18) and Ethan (10) to Hari (2). Imagination galore!

    Just to end on a positive note, I know children who have everything, all the toys they could want, electronic and not, and yet they all know how to play with a cardboard box. I think it’s human nature. Like no matter how badass or ‘grown up’ or boring you are, if a toddler hands you their ringing toy phone, you answer it 🙂

    1. That’s good! I imagine some will still get the opportunity, like your nieces and nephews. Then of course there are the children who have parents who do get to spend time with them and play and such. It just makes me so sad that a lot of kids are missing out on time outside, or time with their parents because of the world we live in now. It’s not really any more dangerous and parents don’t necessarily have to work quite as long hours, but children still seem to be missing out.

      Glad the future isn’t completely doomed. 😀

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