Once the Hydra noticed its heads were growing smaller and disappearing one after another. That didn’t happen overnight, to be sure, so the Hydra had continued to go about its normal routine as “chief creative” at a media conglomerate without taking any more notice than usual of the number or size of its heads. The brain inside each seemed as filled with exciting “new concepts” as always. Eventually, however, the reality of what was happening could no longer be ignored. The first real awareness of this change towards smaller and fewer heads came when the Hydra noted a decline in the usual back-and-forth programming debates among them. The tossing about of ideas could be heated and confusing at times, but exchanges of this sort had also given the Hydra some confidence that what eventually came out of one of its mouths was the product of thorough group consideration. Now, however, it increasingly found its diminishing number of mouths simply blurting out whatever came first into any of its shrinking minds. The Hydra wondered if up-and-coming Hydras at the media conglomerate noticed that its heads were vanishing, but none of them made any mention of it. On the contrary, they too seemed to be losing heads at an accelerating pace and compensating for that fact by merely repeating the same ideas from three or four of their remaining mouths running. Nor did having fewer heads interfere apparently with the basic ability of the “creatives” (whether veterans or mere interns) to function, since all were clearly on the same page more regularly now. It occurred to the Hydra that perhaps its extra heads had actually been unnecessary, or even a hindrance. There was no denying that having to deal with fewer and fewer competing ideas was something of a relief. Complex or independent thinking was fine in its day, of course, but the accelerating shift towards “creative groupthink” seemed so much more efficient. The practice that had once cemented the Hydra’s reputation of fearlessly challenging all of its heads to have their wits about them and, just as importantly, to use those wits or suffer the consequences was vanishing in direct proportion to its own shrinking awareness of the world around it. And as it approached its final head, the Hydra felt a certain relief in finding that the adjustments required in its decline had grown steadily easier. Just give audiences what they wanted over and over again, and all would be fine. When you came right down to it, who really needed the brainpower that extra heads might offer? Judging from what it saw and heard as it took part in yet another webinar on the latest trends in popular entertainment and how to exploit them, the now one-headed Hydra guessed it could probably get by with half a brain, maybe even less. Maybe simply relying on one’s reptilian brain would be all that was needed.
Copyright © 2020 by Geoffrey Grosshans