New, Part 1

I work in the midst of an Apple fan club, no question. Each of us spend our days in the office (and much of our lives away from it) tapping and clicking away, staring at our reflections in the shiny glass and aluminum.  New product announcements—keynotes, for the uninitiated—are major events around the office; productivity comes to a halt as we huddle around our shiny goods to find out what new shiny goods they’ve dreamed up for us. And Apple has “new” down to a science. I don’t care to analyze how they do it, only to acknowledge that they do it. They make the new intoxicating to the degree that the old—though it may only be a mere year or so into it’s life—seem passé.

But we can’t just point the finger at Apple when nearly every aspect of our culture seems to indicate the same value. New and improved is often the mark of what is good.

Even in the rise of the vintage class—those suspender-wearing, ironic-hat toting, antique-collecting young people who pine for the simplicity of the old—is seen a value for the new in the very form. They are a part of a new trend.

And I don’t even think our need for new is anything new. Throughout history people have always wanted something new. New kings. New territories. New ideas. New technologies.

And there’s nothing wrong with new. I don’t wish to suggest that new is bad, but neither is it good. New is new, and it can be either good or bad.

What’s really been on my mind of late is how the clambering for what is new affects our creativity.

Does it lead us to authenticity or pandering? Does it challenge us or cripple us? Does it inspire us or stifle us?