Clearly you need to work with young people more :)
There is that misconception that all teenagers care about is watching TV or hanging out with their friends and doing nothing "creative" or "productive".
How wrong! I've worked with hundreds of teenagers over the past few years, and I've never met one who wasn't interested in creating.
By default, kids and teenagers have a thirst to create, to see how they can imprint the world they live in.
Sure, for a lot of them, what they wish to create is what HN would (sadly) scoff at (those dreaming of becoming athletes, singers, actors, writers, etc.). But the intent to create is there.
What makes the difference ultimately is how seriously they're taken. In our current society, they're just dismissed as ignorant teenagers, and that's what they become in a sad self-fulfilling prophecy. But when they're given the proper encouragement and tools to act upon their creative impulses, that's where the magic happens.
That said, there's a huge difference between wanting to be a creator, and actually creating stuff. In my experience, most young people quickly settle down into caring less about the acts of creation and self-expression, and focus more on 'making an impression' in their immediate peers. This path leads to obvious, uninteresting, facile, lazy, short-term, me-too, style-over-substance, meaningless creations that I can barely label as such.
Is it down to proper encouragement and guidance? For sure that must help a lot, especially when dealing with setbacks and lack of validation. But I believe there needs to be a level of inner dialogue and disregard for what's popular around oneself, that is a) at odds with the desire for teens to 'fit', b) rarely encouraged in practice in our society, and c) hard to sustain against the amount of noise (media, fashion, etc) we surround ourselves with.
Of course- but one must give them time! They're barely starting to figure out how to interact with their peers and themselves, and you want them to create masterpieces on the side? "On n'est pas sérieux quand on a 17 ans!" ("We are not serious when we are 17" - Rimbaud had it right)
Everything in its moment; the important thing is that their creations should not be dismissed as "obvious, uninteresting, lazy [...]", because negativity is the mother of sterility.
> But I believe there needs to be a level of inner dialogue and disregard for what's popular around oneself, that is a) at odds with the desire for teens to 'fit', b) rarely encouraged in practice in our society, and c) hard to sustain against the amount of noise (media, fashion, etc) we surround ourselves with.
Some of them can figure that out on their own; some don't (and most are in between).
That's where we come in as educators (which I believe every philosopher implicitly is [as in us, φιλόσοφος, lovers of wisdom- which is a description HNers rally under]) :)
The difference is that with the internet and social media we can actually see how large that proportion is. In the age of television, newspapers, and strictly controlled publishing you wouldn't hear from these people at all. They'd be invisible.
The ability of young people to interact directly with the creators they admire has never been greater and we're seeing a lot of achievement in that group that wasn't possible before. Instead of being shunned by publishers, these kids are just going it alone and self-publishing and in some cases, succeeding, something that would never have happened twenty years ago.
There always has been and always will be lazy people.