Childhood Dreams

A few nights ago, I met the girl of my dreams.

It was just as they say. Our eyes locked, and no words were needed. Our connection was only for a few moments. But we knew that was enough, and then she was gone.

One of the results of this pandemic lockdown has meant a lot more time to sleep and, perchance, to dream.

The encounter cited above was one such dream, and it had a profound impact. For in that dream, I realized that I was just five years old.

In most of my dreams, I’m middle age, not my true age of 80. So it was stunning to reinhabit my earliest self. However, as I contemplated this further, I realized that, while infrequent, this is not the only time I’ve dreamed as my five-year-old self.

The real shock came when I realized that at that age, I was perfect. I felt whole, calm, and in touch with the world around me. The sensation was not unlike what I can achieve through mediation, but it was different in that Zen inner peace still feels like I am at the bottom of an immense pile of history. At five, I had none of that.

So what happened?

I learned I was not perfect when I went to school.

In the first grade, we were made to read Dick and Jane. Not just for practice, but aloud exhibition style, as each student read a page and then was followed by the student sitting behind. Imagine adding one of the exposures known to be terrifying to the simple act of reading!

I could read, but my mind went numb. I had failed my audition. The whole class saw that I was not perfect.

Every grade after that was another horror. First, it was math, then spelling. Later in high school, it was Spanish and Biology, which was all Greek, well Latin, to me. This was decades ago, and dyslexia wasn’t recognized as a learning disorder until the 1980s.

Now that I’ve come to realize that little kids are not only precious and perfect, but that is their daily experience. Institutional education then takes these perfect humans and takes them off to be quickly informed they are not perfect.

Or worse yet, if they effortlessly fit the curriculums to which they are forceable subjected, they often come to feel they are omniscient. With this sort of cruelty, it is no wonder that some imperfect children become bullies.

Now I’ve planted a seed in your head. Your unconscious mind will have seized on this idea of dreaming as a five-year-old. You now have the choice to ignore this opportunity or relax into it and re-experience your former self.

Perhaps, it will impact you as it has me. I find I can drop into my earlier self even awake and realize I have been perfect all along.

Monetizing Kids

KIds In – Money Out

While the frog cooking in a slowly heating pot is a myth, the fact of normalization is all too real.

For children, everything that surrounds them is “normal.” That’s why as a culture, we abhor things like child abuse. Adults are supposed to protect kids because of this inherent vulnerability. But what if adults, too, have become blunted to things that exploit kids.

It’s hard to tell when it became OK to market to children to make sales to adults, but it goes a long way back. Today, it is an advertising core practice.

If it was just product marketing, this pernicious habit could be controlled. Instead, the problem is that using children to influence adults is now pervasive.

For example, Politicians routinely use potential hard to children to gain support for agendas that have little to do with kids.

The education industry has created the myth that children will fail in life without formal instruction.

Nowhere has is this manipulation more malignant than in digital games. If you are interested in the details, recommend this article: The New Ways Kids App Makers Are Monetizing.

The new trend is interactive marketing. See: Marketing to Kids Through Interactive & Experiential Marketing

See no Eveil?

Metaverse

Comes now the metaverse that is so beyond what most adults understand that determining its potential harm is effectively impossible for most parents.

For Facebook to rebrand itself as Meta tells you all you need to know. But if you need more evidence, Microsoft just bought Activision for $68bn. While this is the largest all-cash acquisition in history, it only makes Microsoft the number three company in the industry after Sony and Tencent. These humongous numbers mean “there’s gold in them there hills.”

When you combine the existing ways, our culture already has to make money by pandering to and manipulating children with the scale and resources of this industry; it is truly frightening.

Add to that; these companies make nothing, their whole product is just dreams, yet they have pervasive access to kids.

What can be done?

Not all gaming is bad. Games such as Minecraft are truly educational. And there are tons of apps to help kids make positive changes.

But nothing will be as effective in protecting children as helping them understand how marketing work. They also need to know how the metaverse works. Indeed, there is no reason kids can’t create their own versions of metaverse games.

That’s truly protecting by empowering.

Here’s a perspective on the metaverse I totally agree with. https://www.theguardian.com/games/2022/jan/25/ive-seen-the-metaverse-and-i-dont-want-it