Mike Bawden thinks we need to come out of our cocoons and regain our sense of what it will take to live life to our full potential. Here’s a hint – there is a desperate need for great stories, ambitious storytellers, and an optimistic sense of our own future.

Dream like your future depends on it. Because it does.

by Mike Bawden

We often long for the optimistic future that seemed to dominate our thoughts and actions in the 1960s. The space race. The first men on the moon. Color television. The world of tomorrow. Even Star Trek.

There was a sense that no matter the obstacle, we could overcome it.

Maybe that was an outgrowth of our country’s recovery from the world war that had ended barely a generation earlier. As horrific as World War II had been, it was easier to retreat to the memory of it rather than face the harsher realities emerging from Southeast Asia, Soviet Russia and other parts of the globe that didn’t escape the physical and emotional damage four to eight years of military conflict brought with it.

By the end of the 1960s and into the 70s, a new, youthful generation had grown to replace and eventually overwhelm the greatest one, flipping “the bird” at it and its authority and living life a bit more recklessly. People believed they could do no wrong if conflict stayed off our own shores and we bathed ourselves in a warm glow of the television taking us away to happier days and places where mysteries could be solved in an hour.

Finding security within the four walls of our own homes

Our media landscape had managed to form a fragile shell around our society, isolating most Americans from the harsh realities found in other parts of the world.

Interestingly enough, the entertainment messages produced here became a popular export – reassuring some populations and inflaming others. The people of the world saw America through its television programs and movies and magazines. And whether they understood the context of what they were seeing, hearing and reading or not, that media helped define how they would interact with our country in the future.

Our media shell was hardening into a cocoon. And it was getting more and more difficult to successfully transmit messages in or out.

By the time the 80s had rolled around, the kids of the previous decades had turned into parents and come to realize the boundless energy of youth gave way to the demands of employment, raising families and making ends meet at a time of economic recession.

The first casualties of this new reality were, in many cases, entertainment venues that had been the “watering holes” and communal gathering spots in prior years. Americans were staying home more which created markets for greater media diversification.

America’s great cocooning was underway.

The optimistic future we had shared with the world in the 60s had given away to a more personal, intimate and, at times, selfish future that put individual needs first and foremost as we all survived the individual trials that came about with economic stress, the evaporation of lifetime employment, high interest rates, no savings and lots of media telling us what we needed to really be happy was to have more stuff.

Optimism started to melt away into a more dystopian vision of our own future.

You can see it in our entertainment. The stories we told. The conspiracies we sought out in the 80s and 90s became more and more bleak. And the scarier we made the world around us seem, the more we wanted to stay at home where it was safe.

At the same time, the rest of the world was following our lead – whether they knew it or not. Politicians learned from the American model of mobilizing the extreme elements of a political party to exert and maintain control. Eventually, news media networks would grow up to support these partisan efforts, finding financial rewards in sewing fear and doubt.

The change was incremental.

Small steps. Unintended consequences. No master plan, except in theory.

But the optimistic vision of a future that was once pervasive in an American “can do” spirit that once was audaciously expressed as the ambition to go to the moon – not because it was easy but because it was hard – was nowhere to be found. The willingness was becoming more and more rare to the point where it was nonexistent in political leadership.

Americans took refuge (as did much of the world) in cocoons of their own making. Listening, watching, seeing and believing the things that make them feel good, comfortable and reassured. Sometimes those things are accurate and true. Sometimes they are not.

But we’ve developed a culture that’s not comfortable with discomfort. There isn’t a barf bag in our cocoon. We don’t want to run the risk of upset any more. We don’t want to be distracted with the facts if they don’t support what we already know to be true.

As bad as it might be in our cocoon, we’re all convinced it’s got to be worse on the outside. We’ve all seen THE MATRIX. We know that’s how it is.

Right?

Wrong.

Where have all the people gone?

Cocooning is a real thing. It’s a real, cultural trend. And even though it’s a reality, it doesn’t have to be our defining reality.

There’s a lot to be said for the benefits we can realize as technology develops and progress marches forward. But exactly how we leverage those advancements is up to how we envision our future society and selves.

And that’s why the stories we tell – and the people who tell them – are so important. If we can’t imagine what our future should be like, then somebody else is going to do it for you. And if you let the people imagining your future rely only on their experiences, you’ve done more than give up your freedom.

You’ve given up on your own future.

The status quo wants your future to be just like your present. That’s how the money is made. Not by breaking out with a completely new idea (that’s too risky), but by continuing to meet the ever-lowering expectations of a market who has become more and more satisfied with warmed-over stories that feel familiar and don’t challenge.

“Cocooning … (is expressed through) the desire for safety, comfort and privacy as the outside world proves wearing-and-tearing and un-navigable.”

Is the world fraught with danger and un-navigable? Yes. Should we continue to hide from it or boldly go to reclaim our future together?

Break out of your cocoon and join us, won’t you? Let’s have some fun together.

Does “stunt casting” work?

Does “stunt casting” work?

Imagination Connoisseur, ROBB, shares his thoughts on how Star Trek: Discovery handled its casting of Democratic politician, Stacey Abrams, as the president of a united Earth in the show’s finale. Personal politics aside, ROBB seems to feel Star Trek’s producers missed an opportunity to send a message about unity at a time when we could all use it.

Will Superman be returning in 4K someday?

Will Superman be returning in 4K someday?

Long-time PGS Member, Kenny Kraly Jr., writes in to the LET’S GET PHYSICAL MEDIA show to ask for their predictions on the possibility of getting more Superman movies out on 4k Blu-Ray.

On the topic of “Gatekeeping” …

On the topic of “Gatekeeping” …

Imagination Connoisseur, Jason Miller, writes a letter of support for ROBSERVATIONS host, Robert Meyer Burnett, who has recently proclaimed himself the Gatekeeper of Geekdom. Jason shares his experience defending RMB’s joke (made on Twitter) and arrives at an inescapable conclusion that everyone should probably take to heart.

Attention Star Command, there seems to be a problem with Buzz Lightyear

Attention Star Command, there seems to be a problem with Buzz Lightyear

ROADTRIPPIN’ co-hosts Robert Meyer Burnett and Mike Bawden respond to letters from listeners proposing a variety of reasons as to why Pixar’s latest animated feature, LIGHTYEAR, didn’t meet expectations during its opening weekend. Was it a result of bad casting, a strained relationship between studios, convoluted marketing or stronger-than-expected competition? No one is sure – but it’s possible the problem runs much deeper than an origin story for an action figure might let on.

How to accept Star Trek now so you don’t go insane!

How to accept Star Trek now so you don’t go insane!

Imagination Connoisseur, Adam Talley, writes in to explain how he now views the Star Trek franchise – a way that acknowledges the “good old days” so many OG fans pine for and the new innovations we’re seeing in stores, online, and in theaters.

Why is Obi-Wan the most boring thing about the Obi-Wan Kenobi streaming series on Disney+?

Why is Obi-Wan the most boring thing about the Obi-Wan Kenobi streaming series on Disney+?

ROADTRIPPIN’ co-hosts Robert Meyer Burnett and Mike Bawden discuss the broader implications of a question posed by an Imagination Connoisseur who asks why Obi-Wan Kenobi is such a boring character in his own series. In fact, one could ask why so many Star Wars series seem to be “running in place” and not really going anywhere with characters who don’t seem to be doing all that much. Is there a larger force at work here that no one seems to acknowledge? And where have we heard THAT before?

Does it make sense to remake good movies?

Does it make sense to remake good movies?

ROADTRIPPIN’ co-hosts Robert Meyer Burnett and Mike Bawden respond to a letter from an Imagination Connoisseur who asks why Hollywood seems content remaking and re-booting successful movies rather than making movies with “great potential” that might have not met expectations when they were first released to the public. As Rob and Mike point out, there’s a lot more involved in a successful remake than one might imagine.

Rob comes out and admits he’s THE Gatekeeper of Fandom

Rob comes out and admits he’s THE Gatekeeper of Fandom

Co-hosts Robert Meyer Burnett and Mike Bawden discuss Rob’s recent revelation that he is, in fact, THE GATEKEEPER OF ALL FANDOM and what Imagination Connoisseurs can now expect of him serving as the judge, jury and adjudicator of all things geeky. Plus interesting letters from fans.

Lots of Star Trek-y goodness on the Interwebs lately

Lots of Star Trek-y goodness on the Interwebs lately

In less time than it takes for a tribble to become a grandparent, here’s a list of the eight most interesting, Trek-related things we’ve found worth sharing with our fellow Imagination Connoisseurs …

Making a case for LIFE after ALIEN

Making a case for LIFE after ALIEN

Imagination Connoisseur, S’wak Props, thinks Ridley Scott could have done much better when it came to making a sequel to his 1979 sci-fi/horror classic, ALIEN. Instead of Scott’s ALIEN COVENANT, S’wak recommends you check out Daniel Espinosa’s LIFE which includes Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds among others in the cast.

Sign up to have the PGS come straight to your Inbox every day!

Click on the button below to be taken to an email subscription page where you can register for your choice of email alerts, newsletters and offers from the Post-Geek Singularity.

Join the Post-Geek Singularity Community on Discord to talk about this post and other subjects of interest to Imagination Connoisseurs from throughout the galaxy.

Meet your fellow Imagination Connoisseurs on any of our social media channels dedicated to interesting, engaging discussions of genre entertainment. Just click on the icon above to join!