Positive Addition to Creativity
*This is a posting I wrote a long time ago. I don’t remember what spurned the thought…but I thought it still was relevant and might stir some thought.
I admire tenacity, creative spirit, frankness and artistic vision. There are several people whose work I admire greatly…and I’ve never had the chance to meet them and tell them face to face.
People today (and I might argue that it’s hugely fueled by the lack of empathy demonstrated by this generation of teens) cannot bring themselves to step outside of themselves long enough to find art behind the artist. Or, in crudest terms: it’s easier to make fun of someone than befriend someone, because that garnishes immediate attention, instead of the alternative which requires effort, time, thought, consideration…and MOST OF ALL, a desire to be empathetic toward someone or something else.
It’s frightening. I have the pleasure of meeting eyes with teenagers everyday…and I just want to say that the vast majority of them are BRILLIANT, wonderful human beings. Kind, hard-working, positive and polite. But vast majority lack empathy. (What some might consider a landmark ingredient in what one might consider the casserole called humanity.) It’s not always their fault. I blame the social media world and an age of googling the answers to any questions we have thus satisfying the immediate desire to obtain something (answers, information, recognition, acceptance, etc.) RIGHT NOW. Why wouldn’t they? Who writes letters anymore? Why would you…send an email, or even better, a text! It’s immediate, it’s easy…and it’s momentary, so we can return to the ADD world we live in to partake in one of the other million things we participate in. I’m guilty as charged as well.
The problem isn’t so much that we’ve stopped caring. In fact we care a lot! We just have NO DESIRE to relate. To immerse ourselves (whether through research, education, time, effort, blood, sweat and tears) into whatever we choose to afford our attention to….and EMPATHIZE. It just doesn’t happen anymore.
I’ve seen best friends…students who LEGITIMATELY like one another….friends!…relentlessly make fun of each other, period after period…day after day. (Little teases…”oh you’re stupid” kinda stuff.) And I’ve seen innocent teasing turn to down-right rude brow-beating in seconds….and then immediately after intervening I’m met with “oh, we’re just joking with one another. You know we are good friends, right?” I’ve even heard “Mr. Ball…I make fun of him, because I love him.” I just don’t get it.
At what time did we stop rooting for the good guy in WWF wrestling…and start rooting for the bad guy? At what point did our young ladies STOP wanting to go on a date with the young man they could trust, and would treat them respectfully (open the door for them and treat them with kindness)…and when did they prefer the “bad boy” who just might get them in trouble?
It’s important to know that we’ve never stopped wanting to go against the norm…or be individuals…or challenge authority. That’s not what I’m talking about. What I’m saying…is that in today’s world we have to face automaton-like “numbness” as it pertains to the fundamental human quality of “taking care of each other.” It’s not passive either. It’s not that we IGNORE one another. We’re not just galumphing along from day to day without acknowledgment of one another. (We’ll leave that to the Walking Dead series.) Rather, we substitute this fundamental social responsibility with a selfish knee-jerk reaction to spend our energies in pushing someone DOWN, in order to gain attention.
If a student drops their books in the hall….help them out by picking those books up. (Nothing is too important and you’re never too rushed to discount you from being a kind and thoughtful human being for a few seconds.)
If someone makes a joke…laugh if it’s funny. Don’t use it as a spring-board to capitalize on the attention they gained by bringing that person down. (You’re wonderful too. Wait your turn. Come up with a silly joke yourself. That joke will be “all yours” and you won’t be hurting someone else in the process.)
If someone creates something…anything….enjoy it, or not. Allow the vision, creative effort or message to influence accordingly….or not. But, instead of making fun of that artist…how about use your thoughts, opinions and energies as motivation to create something yourself. By sending hate-mail…or offering offensive tweets / posts (I remember a time that Facebook was an enjoyable forum) you’re just confirming that your a lazy activist, unwilling to make a change for the better. If you feel so strongly about it…take a stand and make a change.
I’ve never understood picketers for the same reason. What good are you doing standing in the sun for days and days. BE PROACTIVE…make a change by CREATING SOMETHING good yourself.
If you’re not positively adding TO something…then you’re negatively taking AWAY from something. Bottom line.