I was born in 1970, which was a year in the center of a movement that was spreading throughout the western world. As a child, I had no idea that I was living in the echo of a social revolution that began in the late 1950s, or how that echo influenced the way I saw the world, and how I interacted with it.
20th Century Social Revolution
The influence of the mid 20thcentury’s social revolution can best be seen in what came out of it’s publishing houses and entertainment industries. Authors wereasking their readers to look at their lives, and society, from a different perspective, especially science fiction writers. Movies, music, poets, philosophers, and eventually television, wanted to promote discussions about the human condition, injustice, social introspection, and a cry for change. Even entire cities like San Francisco created an idea, a belief, that we should strive achieve peace, both worldly peace and peace within ourselves. All we had to do was change.
Children Of Change
Change didn’t come as quickly as the movement had hoped, but the echo of it continued throughout the 1970s—in its music, its literature, and its media. A great deal of that echo was directed at the children of that decade, children like me. The media asked us to accept everyone, regardless of race or religion. It asked us to protect our planet. It asked us to create peace with all nations, and many of us never doubted that the world was becoming a better place, and that we would play a key role in making it so.
The 1970s were also when the “Philosophy for Children” movement began. Psychologists and researchers began to question Jean Piaget’s (1933) theory of cognitive development, which suggested that, prior to age 11 or 12, most children were not capable of philosophical thought. Research began to speculate that that Piaget’s theory seriously underestimated the cognitive ability of children. Children were found to have the ability of reflecting on their own experiences, and able to have thoughtful and insightful discussions, as early as third grade. Several organizations are now focused on promoting philosophy within children, and encourage children to think about thinking. In short, children are capable of thinking about thinking, and the children of the 1970s were brought up during a time when every form of media seemed to be focused on thinking about social change.
Children of the 21st Century
The children of the 21stcentury are facing many of the same ethical and social issues that my generation was born into; issues many of us thought would be resolved by now. Because of this, a great deal of my generation has lost hope in the future. I have seen this first hand as a counselor. I have also seen a great deal of hopelessness in children, as if the world will never get better, and only become worse. To that, I point out that greed, bigotry, and social injustice has existed for thousands of years, and is not likely to go away. But, the desire for social change has existed for just as long, which means that each generation has to keep the echo of change alive for the generation that follows it. Like the generations before us, many of us choose to do this through our art, our literature, and other forms of media.
The Monkey Mind Tales® book series was born from the echo of social change created by the generations before me, and my desire to keep that echo alive. It is my hope that the stories I’ve written will inspire those who read them to continue the echo of change as they move forward in their own lives.
Steve Michael Reedy