Monday, March 1, 2010

Imagine this...

I almost started this blog last week and then thought, "No, you're being an old crone. Don't write that." But I just finished reading a review in Entertainment Weekly of a new video game called Heavy Rain, and the same idea came back to me. So, old crone or not, I'm going to lament a little. Let me know if you are commiserating with me or if you think I need to start looking for a walker.

I'm a big fan of the imagination. When I was little (elementary school age), my friends and I played all sorts of games. We turned the big propane tank outside my house into horses and became cowgirls. My best friend and I ran around her house, over a fence, into the dog kennel, and back over the fence because we were cops chasing the bad guys. Diane Bauer (rest in peace) and I were ElectroWoman and DynaGirl in the gym at school during recess. Other than the propane tank, none of us really had props or costumes - just our imaginations, and they took us so many places.

I also use my imagination when I read. For as long as I can remember, reading has been one of my favorite pastimes. I imagine the settings and characters in my mind and hold onto those images as I read. That's one of the reasons I'm always reticent to see the movie version of a book I've read - I'm afraid the "motion picture" will pale in comparison to the one I've created for myself.

I've contended for a long time that one of the reasons our kids' critical thinking skills aren't what we want them to be is that so little is asked of their imaginations anymore. As they're growing, they aren't always asked to think for themselves as much as we used to be. Video games are so realistic now that they immerse you in fantasy worlds as you become a character within those worlds. No imagination required. It's all right there in front of your face.

I mentioned that I thought about writing this blog a week ago. I'd just read an article in EW (yes, I love that magazine) about the future of movies - specifically the future of movies in 3D. The general consensus from that article is that we will eventually see all movies in 3D. The phenomenom was related to the transition from black-and-white movies to color. At first, color movies were a treat and only a few were made. Then, they became more common, even though black-and-white ones were still being shot. Now, as we all know, color is the common medium. Following that logic, I can believe that eventually all we'll have is 3D.

My problem with this is the same as the one I mentioned regarding video games. We will need even less of an imagination - or, if you prefer, we'll use our imaginations even less - when we are completely immersed in the movies we go to see.

I fear we're becoming more and more apathetic and uninvolved. Our imaginations aren't as necessary as they used to be. They aren't being used enough, so that when situations arise where they would benefit us, we don't even know enough about them to call them up. And that just makes me sad.

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