Monday, February 10, 2014

The #YOLO Society

I wonder if those younger than me are truly able to think inside themselves any more.  Well, that's not exactly true, I know they do, at least, I hope so. I've talked about this before, the idea that how we communicate effects how we think.  The increasing trend is to speak in fewer and fewer words, and in more images.  Again, this is a trend that started well before World War I with the invention of the camera and then the television, and I think this is all a planned reduction of thought by writing words.  I've felt it, too, even writing these blogs.  I could have gone on and on about the game Papo Y Yo for the Playstation, but after seeing the Youtube videos made about the game, I simply added these to the blog and called it a day.  The increase in emotionally driven images and shorter text-thoughts centers around today's youth.  There's no need for a detailed account of an adventurous day when taking a few camera shots on Instagram will take care of the ideas that words would communicate just as well.  Instead of describing the feeling of bunjee jumping off a tower, just take a picture of yourself prior to, type #YOLO, and that satisfies the people on the receiving end of that thought.  Those four letters describes a complex life philosophy, one that flies in the face of religion, certainly of safety and of self-control.  It promotes commercial activities that would not be done otherwise.  A 3000 calorie burger? #YOLO. Buying a jet ski?  #YOLO. Experimenting with street drugs? #YOLO.  You get my drift.  The value of life is lessened as the experience of living increases. This wouldn't be possible prior to the Internet because there would be no way of communicating such a lifestyle using as few characters as possible.

So everything is communicated in short, sometimes unintelligible letters and images that are supposed to trigger emotional, not rational, responses.  So if an emotion or a thought is unable to be communicated by contemporary social means, is the thought able to be contrived and cogitated upon? If a tree falls in the forest....  One could argue that this is a deliberate planned move toward the simplification of thought towards, well, #YOLO. What a government could do with a society of young citizens who find that instant gratification is the most important objective in life.  There would be no need to work hard and achieve a long term goal when instant happiness is the apex of existence. It's not a far leap to understand that a large strong central government that controls lives through giving people what they want, but not too much, and making them dependent upon those in control, would have the biggest advantage from a #YOLO society.   But since my main objective is not to talk about such things, I will leave the point there.

Similarly, how does a #YOLO society deal with religion, with the existence of God?  If a world lives only for short term gratification, does eternal life mean anything to them? And this doesn't mean that these people would necessarily be bad people.  The desire to do good things for other people is just as strong a motivating factor as self-gratification.  They both end with the same positive brain-chemicals being raised and the same wonderful feelings swirling around in the brain and heart.  It might even be conceivable that the idea of God providing our every need, of forgiving our every sin, would appeal to a YOLO (the # sign is getting annoying) generation, but only if the message of Christ was given in methods that mirror how they communicate. Namely, emotional triggers caused by music, images, and few words.  It's obvious that contemporary Christian music has far fewer layers than the hymns of old.  Take Gloria Gaither's "I Then Shall Live" and compare it to any of the Christian Pop Chart toppers currently.  The depth of meaning in the words is vastly different.  They are communicating some of the same things, but to different audiences.  The latter needs rhythm, repetition, almost a hypnotic beat that drives the point home, while Gaither's hymns gear more toward a slower, more reasoning style, filled with symbolism, classic Christian motifs (the lighthouse, the fountain, etc...) which don't resonate with today's youth.  And while you communicate the message to different people using different methods, the classic methods of text, of symbolism through words, mean more to me than emotional hooks and memes.

Actually, this isn't where I wanted to go with this idea at all, but it'll do for a start.  I've found it interesting of late, talking with my mom post-Aortic Aneurysm operation, about the idea that she was within minutes of dying.  How do you face death and how does that change you?  My dad had several heart attacks and open heart surgeries, and those surgeries changed his personality.  My mom has a theory that facing death in that manner, whether it be because of the heart surgery or not, does change the way you react to other people.  Take Dan Reeves, former coach of the Atlanta Falcons.  After his heart surgery, he was much more conservative in his play calling, and his win-loss record went down.  I would even go as far as say that John Fox probably had the same problem, and would have affected the Denver Broncos much more had Peyton Manning not been the Quarterback and running things.  I want to look at these subjects, as well as the works of artists when they face their own mortality, specifically, the rock 'n roll musicians that I listen to.

1 comment:

  1. This is quite an interesting topic, Denzil. What I can most relate to is the part where you mentioned the Gaithers and their songs. The reason why I can relate to this is because I do take notice that the youth is not often exposed to the old hymns of the church. The elderly people have been exposed to those songs a right many of times, but not the youth. The old hymns are better than the contemporary songs because most of the people who wrote these songs wrote them from an experience that they went through, mostly traumatizing and sad. Those songs remind us that even in the midst of trouble, we can still trust God and place our faith in God. The youth of today need to be exposed to that kind of encouragement, but unfortunately, they have not been given the opportunity. Take it from a person who likes to go to his grandma's church every now and again.