Monday, 13 November 2017

Novelty, Our Strength is Our Weakness

I have thought for some time that often someone or somethings greatest strength is also their greatest weakness. The West has that problem, the thing that has make us great, novelty, is killing us. What is novelty? Novelty is liking the new and strange, and we do. Our Civilization was built on novelty, new ideas, new discoveries, new inventions, new technologies. The Civilization of the West is based on innovation, changing things, as many things as we can.

Before the Black_Death around 1350, the outlook of the West doesn't seem much different from any other Civilization. But afterwards things began to change, first the deaths of so many people changed society. Workers were in short supply and therefore wages began to be more widely paid. Before that time wages were rare, people worked either feeding themselves or for their Feudal Lord. Secondly educated people knew that the world had once been better than it was, they knew about the Roman Empire. They could read about it and they could see the ruins, ruins they couldn't build and in many cases couldn't even repair. Thirdly after this period there are inventions that no other Civilization ever developed. In the later Middle Ages both Plate armour and handguns were developed and only replaced when something better came along. In other Civilizations once technology reached a certain level then they either didn't develop further or they actively destroyed technology.

People often call this Idea of progress or the cult of progress, but I think that is putting the cart before the horse. I think that the reality came first and then people came up for a name for it, but calling it the idea of progress makes it sounds like it was all part of a master plan, it wasn't. Unlike other peoples, Europeans came to view the new as good, even better, it came to define their Civilization. It still defines it. The history of Western Civilization became the history of novelty, whats new, discoveries, inventions, people, ideas, music, art, whats new!

I started thinking about this when I was watching a TV series on music. An episode on the 1960's for example didn't feature music that was popular in that decade, instead it featured ideas that would be popular. In other words it was really a history of novelty in music. I started to notice it everywhere in the study of history. It wasn't about how people lived it was about novelty, about what was new and exciting. About what would change the future instead of being a study of it's particular time and place. But this idea is everywhere in our Civilization, the idea that things can be new and improved. And it's allied idea that things that aren't shouldn't exist.

Sometimes I tell people I'd rather be old fashioned then new fashioned, they always laugh because being new fashioned is something they have never heard before. But how often are we told that something must be done way with because it is old fashioned? Old fashioned is outdated, it most certainly is not a novelty and we are addicted to novelty. Whats the latest scientific discovery? Whats the newest technology? Whats new at the movies? What new songs are on the music charts? Look at this new idea, technique or book. Constantly we are bombarded with the new.

But how can it be that the new is always better, however that prejudice is very much a part of our Civilization. It is even acceptable to lie about the past to guarantee that the new will be better. In the past people thought the world was they didn't that is a deliberate lie. In the past people argued about how many angels could fit on the eye of a they didn't that is a deliberate lie. In the past (meaning before the person speaking was born) women were basically they weren't that is a deliberate lie. These lies make the present seem better while always degrading the future they claim to won't so much. The past, present nor the future is important, only novelty is. Because it makes life seem much more exciting and full then it really is.

That helps explain why people think well of immigration when it is so harmful. Why people welcome the idea of Multiculturalism because it always offers something novel. You boring White people with your boring white bread culture is no match for the excitement of a new ethnic restaurant. The excitement of new suburbs, new faces, new cultures, even new crimes. The excitement never ends and isn't that what our Civilization is about?

Isn't our Civilization more exciting now that men don't run everything? Isn't it more exciting now that people can choose their gender? Isn't everything so much better now that everything is new fashioned!

Actually this puts everyone who opposed Liberalism in a very bad spot because in many ways they are right. Novelty is exciting and the new is novel and that is one of the defining points of our Civilization. And Liberalism provides that novelty, in fact it could not exist without it. But if we continue on this path then we are doomed. There is no future in a cosmopolitan and genderless people. We need to find an answer to this before our greatest strength destroys us.

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  1. Christine I accidentally deleted your message, but I've now found it again!

    Very interesting, Mr Moncrieff,
    In another vein of the same idea, my husband and I often joke about some of the advertisements we see on television for “new and improved” items.
    We say to one another, if it is “new and improved” now, what was it before, and just how much more improved can a laundry detergent, toothpaste, cereal, become?
    It seems there are always new phone upgrades, car upgrades, and constant “improvements” on everything.
    Often, I wonder when do we ever have “enough?”
    As regards social “new and improved” norms, I cannot help but feel despair at the rate we have so swiftly moved from gay marriage to transgender rights, to gender fluidity in general.
    Where does one go from there?

    1. Dear Christine

      "New and improved" is simply a lie. Something can either be new or it can be improved, but it cannot be both.

      "Where does one go from there?"

      All I can say is things will get much worse before they get any better.

      Mark Moncrieff