Nothing New

I WAS discussing this in relation to marketing when networking with someone from New York.

Looking through Instagram or any other ‘shop’ window, I notice how homogenized and boring even the virtual landscape is becoming – which is almost limitless, so it shouldn’t be possible. There are few wonders left at a certain age and I wonder if people who have been hooked to the web from a very young are just bored on some level with life because they’ve seen it all online.

Part of the fault lies at the (coded) feet of algorithms. You like philosophy and you get a dump truck of philosophy popping up as suggestions. The other blame lies with me for being lazy and not seeking out broader territories, for the lesser known and undiscovered to me.

There’s a danger with it that people are exposed en masse to the same people, the same quotes, the same voice, identical narratives, similar inspiring snippets and digital nuggets which can easily create a jaded view of things and suggests at a need to reflect and look elsewhere for some new ideas and inspiration. There’s also a power imbalance.

The danger is people are funnelled into all consuming the same media. Even if it’s good media, it leads to a stagnation. It kills creativity a bit too when it should be inspiring people to add to or question established ideology and beliefs.

Ultimately, there’s not much new in terms of thoughts even. Read any book from even a few thousand years ago and we didn’t think much differently whether it was ancient Japan, China, Greece or Italy. The real tragedy with that is that we’ve had many wise people write many wise things that could have been used as a basis to make a better collective society, but instead precious wonderful thoughts and ideas have been overlooked, forgotten and even banished or been made illegal.

On that note, it’s nice to see that there’s a real resurgence in ancient philosophy whether taoist or stoic. It hints at a major chasm in the psyche of people today; a need, a hunger for wisdom, for guidance and a rooting in a past to give the future meaning. And it’s fun to see how it is all repackaged for social media as if brand new material, just thought up today.

Most things have been done. That’s true. But there’s always progress to be made, tweaks and refinement possible. And despite all that there are cherished lines that standout for their prescience, like the (perhaps) misattributed quote of Voltaire: ‘Truly, whoever can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities’.

That is really one for the age.

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