Is there anything new under the sun?

Time and time again! We make the same mistakes over and over again. We say that history repeats itself. Styles return and fashions go in cycles. Some of us believe we will be born again and others believe in reincarnation. The same people give us the same headaches time and time again. Is there anything new under the sun or is life simply one big process of recycling? What does it mean to be new or different? When we think we are being unique, are we simply copying an earlier style or idea? Who among us has had an idea that has never been thought of before? We have here the makings of an age old argument wherein there are those who believe that there is nothing new under the sun and those who like Heraclitus (535 BC) say “we never step in the same river twice.” The Chinese invented an early form of vaccination four thousand years ago and the Romans had an early form of air conditioning. Are old ideas simply recycled and modernized to be labeled like the “New Improved Tide.” We all know it is the same old Tide, with a new package.

On the other hand, how could we be living in the world today if not due to brand spanking new ideas? Satellites, automobiles, computers, cell phones, blogs, and myriad other products and services did not exist more than 100 years ago. How could these all be simply old ideas recycled? This question forces us to think about the definitions of new and old. New ideas surely stem from old ideas and many ideas were first thought of hundreds if not thousands of years ago. However, it is one thing to think of an idea and another thing to bring it to fruition. Many of the products and services we have today would not have been possible even decades ago. They would not have had the supply, production, distribution or technology to create the products and services we so casually enjoy today. No, I say give the old it’s due but today is not the past. I agree with Heraclitus, “You never step in the same river twice.”

What is one thing that you feel is truly new in your life? What is one thing different about your life from anyone else in your family? What is something that you think is unique about today’s world that differentiates it from the world of your ancestors? Do you think we are making progress in the world, staying in the same place or falling behind?

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. bgalbreath
    Nov 06, 2011 @ 15:23:27

    Most new technologies fulfill ancient dreams – to travel great distances quickly, to record pictures and sounds, to communicate, to protect ourselves from adverse environments. One dream that still beckons is extreme life extension and or actual rejuvenation. We may be on the verge of breakthroughs in understanding the aging process. we have already doubled life expectancy over the past 150 years by fairly normal methods, but I'm talking about something that would give us vigorous health for centuries. That would transform human life in unprecedented ways. If there are things that take 300 years to learn, they are now beyond our grasp, but would come within it. If we basically cut the death rate to just what fatal accidents produce, we would have to cut the birth rate to match. These are just easily imaginable consequences, What else, unforseen, might emerge fro the virtual abolition of death? How would our sense of time, of the “proper” rhythms of life be affected?

    Reply

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