The Past is passé
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The danger of actually studying and exploring is the fear of being left behind.
Our Generation can't get past the past
-Ray Bradbury Fahrenheit 451
What's the problem with our generation? What have we done with the festering deferred dreams of those before us? Where is our explosion in the sun? Better yet where is our supernova? With all the advancements in technology and the advent of inventions that were once the fancies of imagination; what will our legacy be? How many twitter followers we were able to get? How many Instagram likes we've obtained? How many people are in our network? None of these factors will shift the ideas of those who will come into existence in the future. Years from now when a young man discovers an old archive from this era will he be inspired by anything we left behind?
We live in an age where information is available at the click of a mouse and where we can virtually occupy any space or time of our choosing. Yet here we are lightly leaving our collective footprints in the sands of time and quickly blotting them out. What defines us as a generation? Our generation is prone to disposability. Nothing has long lasting shelf life anymore. What is considered important "now" will not be important later. The speed of information moves at a pace that makes it difficult to show appreciation patiently. We have become prisoners of the moment. Anything that happens "now" is better than what proceeded it because of our misplaced entitlement to be experts over all human achievement. Anything that was done in the past we do better now in the present despite the fact that we have basically pillaged the past for ideas.
What defines classic when the most obviously mediocre of things is labeled classic for its momentary popularity? Are we the generation that will not have a legacy? We, who copy, retro, and mash eras, people, trends and views? Rap artist Nas once said that "No idea's original" which I would argue to be true because all creation originates in inspiration. What inspires an artist to create already exist, whether externally or internally.
I would argue that even the internal is at the mercy of the external. We build memories, relationships and our very lives through experiences. But now many of our "experiences" seem to be artificial and forgeries of the authentic. How many of us chronicled everything we did on a daily basis before social networking? We have literally disrupted the natural pattern of inspiration through a falsified sense of connection.
Nothing, even the most original idea can escape the vacuum of our desire to be fed experiences moment by moment. When there is nothing presently available to feed this manufactured desire the archives of history become the easiest prey. Now there have been periods in time when intellectuals looked to past intellectuals for direction and they labeled the period a renaissance. However, those intellectuals studied and explored and deconstructed theories of the past with a fine-toothed comb trying to discover the impetus behind the thought. Now most of us are satisfied with Wikipedia and Google, which only provide a brief snapshot of history.
But isn't that apropos to how we define our existence through social media? We would rather view the surface of an issue rather than peel back its layers. The danger of actually studying and exploring is the fear of being left behind. It's the reason why twitter explodes with ignorant reactions. Who has time to actually gather the facts? Rather who wants to spend time researching facts when the issue will be forgotten about as quickly as it surfaces in favor of the next? My argument isn't that we shouldn't use social networking or that everyone should advocate thorough investigation before opinion. I want to know what we can do creatively with conviction as a generation. I want to know when our renaissance will happen? We can't be the lost generation with so much promise and so much potential to make an impression on history. What will the future say about our past?
Eric loren Montgomery, Contributing Writer: Eric Montgomery is a M.F.A. in Creative Writing at UCR. He has a B.A. in English Literature from Cal State Dominguez Hills. He helped develop the groundbreaking performance Uncovered: A Pageant of Hip Hop Masters. He has worked alongside several Hip Hop Theatre practioners including Rickerby Hinds, Joe Kolski Hernandez, Cory Coffer and Ana Garcia to name a few. He was a a part of a week long workshop in Ashland Oregon called Mixing Texts: Hip Hop and Shakespeare. Eric is currently a performance... (more...)