April 10th, 2008 15:18 EST
Media Is The Masses: Past, But Not Ceased
In Media Is The Massage, Marshall McLuhan wrote:
Our ?Age of Anxiety` is, in great part, the result of trying to do today`s job with yesterday`s tools-- with yesterday`s concepts. ?
We look at the present through a rear view mirror. We march backwards into the future. ?
We impose the form of the old on the content of the new. The malady lingers on. ?
We seem to be socially and psychologically " if not genetically-- predisposed to having trouble letting go of the past. We routinely contemplate, agonize and fret over should have done ? and might have been ?. We erroneously treat the way things have been as if they are the way things will and must always be. We recycle and perpetuate elements of the past in our present. Carrying our past with us, we sentimentally catalog, record and commemorate moments and events for memory and posterity.
Transcribing and transposing our past onto our future, we define the future by dwelling on the past. This approach is a fundamental response to people fearing the chaos of change. But how can we evolve and improve without changing?
How can we possibly see the future while looking at the past?
At least a future liberated from the constraints of the past. It defies the logic of causality.
As a reflection of ourselves today, humans in the Star Trek universe tend to be preoccupied with their cultural, historical and familial past, with a reverence bordering on the religious ? and possibly the neurotic. Tradition is elevated to the sacred.
They commonly preserve and immerse themselves in the past-- almost to the point having no distinct culture and cultural artifacts of their own, in a casual glance.
As a social commentary, I recognize and appreciate the narrative need and usefulness of Trek focusing on the past. But in the process, we could lose sight of the future as the future "rather than as a memorial or replication of the past.
And in accordance with what Star Trek was designed for, this article is merely to illustrate a condition observable in contemporary society. We are often stubbornly conservative and precedential in our ways, projecting and extending how things were ? onto how things are becoming ?.
It is as if, after playing checkers for ten years, assuming to apply the same rules to a chess board when the games have been switched ? simply because it has become habitual ? routine ? familiar. Either in some sense of respect or out of apathy, laziness, thoughtlessness or fear, we promote traditions and procedures regardless of their utility, rationale or propriety.
Just about everything we do is determined by what we`ve done, as opposed what we intend to do. It need not be.
The past is the canvas on which we draw our future; our present, the pencil.
Would it not be better to define the present by what you are doing and will do, rather than by what you did? Let us create the present with the future in mind, not the past.
Currently based in Houston Texas, Sean Stubblefield graduated Sam Houston State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Television Production. A philosopher poet, Stubblefield has been writing non-fiction for 15 years, and has penned eight books to date. His first book, Paradox: A Journey Inside Out is available today at Amazon.com.
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