Holding On To The Old Things

Is it a bad thing to hold on to the old things? I do not think it is, but there is a general assumption that people have, at least among many I interact with, that it is a bad thing that the old should be so consistently appreciated and that no one wants to appreciate the new things that are coming out. My own personal feelings, for what they are worth, is that if new things are worthwhile people will appreciate them, and if old things are what they prefer then they are quite happy to enjoy what was created before. If we want new things to catch on we have to find a way that makes it compelling for people to read something or listen to something or do something differently than they know how to do and already enjoy. If we fail to provide something more compelling than mere novelty than we do not have much to offer. Again, though, that is my own opinion, for what it’s worth, which may not be very much.

Noted chess player Hikaru Nakamura is moving to Florida from California, presumably in order to escape the burdensome taxation and other problems that state faces. Like many refugees from that accursed state, though, the chess player wants to have the fruits of good government without recognizing the conditions that are necessary for it to endure. He has made comments on his YouTube videos disparaging constitutional government and parroting the progressive propaganda line that the Constitution’s rules and procedures are outdated and that we need a nontextual living Constitution that is only accountable to whatever misrule our would-be elites would foist upon us. It should be noted, in the interests of fairness, that precisely the sort of government he considers to be ideal is what made him flee from California to Florida in the first place to avoid the consequences of what happens when corrupt and incompetent elites rule and ruin a state.

I am a part of a community that spends a lot of time looking at the music charts, down to the point where we examine the daily statistics for radio play and streaming, to give a couple of examples, to see how the charts will look over the course of the week and year. One of the phenomenons that have become increasingly obvious over the past couple of years is that the growth of catalog music listening on streaming (my own personal preference) has decreased the amount of streaming points that count for songs on the active charts. As there are more stringent rules for charting the longer a song remains on the Billboard charts, those songs that have been out a long time typically do not appear on those charts because they do not meet those increasingly stringent requirements, but the lack of comparative interest in new songs means that those new songs typically do not fare well and allow songs that are liked that were released within the last couple of years are remaining on the charts for increasingly long periods of time. Some people consider this to be a bad thing, but if music is being released that does not interest people, people have no need to listen to them just because they are new.

This problem of novelty is similarly a problem in the world of technology. Those who create phones, tablets, and computers, as well as the software that runs on these devices, have long sought to engage in the practice of designed obsolescence by which people are induced to buy new hardware and software periodically. This is done not only through making products that are not built to last but also by creating operating systems and cell phone infrastructure that, after a certain point, does not allow the old things to work any longer so that someone is forced to buy newer technology simply to be able to use devices and connect to the internet and call at all. Given that the carrot of new features that people do not tend to use and the often nonexistent fear of missing out of what is the cutting edge of not very innovative technological changes, the stick of not being able to do what one feels is necessary–such as communicate–is often resorted to instead.

All of this suggests that there is a genuine tendency for people to want to be able to enjoy what is comfortable and familiar and works. If we have an economy that is based on innovation, the fact that little that is merely novel is genuinely attractive to a large percentage of people and that most people want to change their lives and habits as little as possible, and that these habits are increasingly affecting contemporary culture, suggests that perhaps we ought to pay attention to this longing for the familiar. Rather than work against the native conservatism of people, it would be preferable by far for companies to figure out how to respond to this longing for the comfortable and familiar in such a way as can benefit us and them.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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