“When progress happens fast it can make the present feel like a continual future.”
One of the earliest speculative fiction books written is called Metropolis. The book was famously derived from the very first science fiction film ever produced. It was a silent movie with a huge cast directed by Fritz Lang in 1927. The book which followed on from the movie was written by his wife Thea von Harbou. It was a view of a dystopian future. At the time outrageously prophetic and over time it has become an almost reality.
When I see a robot on Facebook which acts and looks like a Dog, but realise it is a prototype for a new form of frontline soldiering I begin to ask myself what is the world coming to?
It used to be a generational thing but indeed the realities of life are no longer science fiction but science fact.
In a sense, it is our own fault. Consumerism has driven technology which has in turn driven consumerism. We are no longer encouraged to live in the present but to live in the future. How so? From the very earliest age, our society uses sticks and carrots. We send our kids to kindergarten to get them ready for school. They go to school to learn how to pass a test. They pass tests to get into High School. They pass more tests to get into University and then even more to get a job. At every stage of life its always about the next goal because as we all know we ‘can’t be happy until……’
We have got the GCSE, got the Degree, got the job, got the car, got the family, got the house, got the garden. Behind this lies the consumerism of ‘get the sweet designer kids clothes,’ must have ‘trainers’, latest ‘smartphone’, latest ‘tablet’, latest, latest, latest….. Nobody ever seems to be satisfied anymore which makes for life being lived by most of us in the future.
We have finally left the 12,000-year-old Holocene period behind and moved the entire planet and our habitat into the Anthropocene Age. The ‘new age of man.’ Which all sounds a bit J R R Tolkien and is an equally scary place to be for very many reasons. Human technology will either save the world or destroy it. It’s pretty much 80/20 at the moment but the doomsday clock hasn’t been changed for this period so we are still at one minute to midnight. That is about as positive as it gets at the moment even though we live under the metaphorical all-seeing eye of Sauron otherwise known as ‘economic globalisation.’
Something we believe in strongly at KidsCast is that it doesn’t always have to be about the new ‘thing.’ It’s fun to see and experience new stuff, of course, it is. The KidsCast App itself is a case in point as it would not have been possible to build, maintain, and fund just 8 years ago. There wasn’t the technology or structure available commercially.
Content is another thing entirely. Who says that content always has to be new? There are fantastic series available from our childhoods that are still relevant. They might look ‘dated,’ but you have to remember that to a new audience they are as fresh as they were when they were first broadcast. (OK I admit Noggin the Nog in black and white is pushing that idea to the limit but you get the point.)
The point is that we don’t always have to live in the future. Sometimes it’s relaxing to live in the past and to remember to live in the present moment. It’s cheesy but it’s true: the past is history, the future hasn’t happened, but the present is a gift which is why it’s called ‘The Present.’
So the need to encourage our children to live in the future tense can only lead them into a tense future. Whereas watching a TV show with them from your childhood encourages them to ask you about your own childhood and an opportunity to wistfully reminisce about the things that have changed and are changing. Taken to a natural conclusion to spend time in the present with your child. It’s probably the greatest gift you will ever receive in your life. We would like to help be a part of that.