I think about "new" a lot. I don't really know what that word means. New compared to what? My blip of an existence? This year compared to last? The entire timeline of the universe? We have a new song out today which is why I'm writing this.
Imagine for one single moment -- try to -- that from the moment you're born until the moment you die, nothing new happens.
Just nothing new. A funny and horrifying concept. The same food choices - only indigenous - only fresh, no new films, no new music. In fact, the only music that exists is clergy music which are mostly just halfway ominous a capella drones. Most things exist to not be a means of self-expression or personal advancement, but for survival or worship.
You would never see the iPhone XII. The Jolli Bee fried chicken joint in Times Square that opened last year for some reason, bath bombs, the show on Netflix that you love to hate watching. Nothing happens except time passing, and the only thing to mark its significance is the arbitrary act of keeping count.
No upward mobility in society as a result of serfdom. No benchmarking your own success by your past successes because the only metric of success is prolonging the expedited death sentence that was life in 500 AD.
Not even the use of language. It was extremely rare for people to be literate. Even now, it still is too rare. Usually a skill given to clergymen. What are we when our written word has no meaning? What do we become when we lose one of our primary methods of communication and transferring ideas? If no one could read this, is it the same thing as it not existing? Am I really communicating if no one can receive it?
And it's not even as if nothing happened during your life, nothing happened for hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years until someone accidentally forged a new metal or something. No, I don't know enough history to be writing about this.
The conditions we need to succeed and prosper are often things that we have very little control over.
Yes, I suppose it's in my power to purchase the new Playstation when it comes out. But how much of this choice is actually a direct result of my autonomy and not an indirect result of some asshole thousands of years ago who inadvertently invented innovation itself? Did people mean to change the world? I know chocolate chip cookies weren't created on purpose. And I know I wouldn't be able to make them without the recipe on the back of the bag, even if I have the ingredients. Is that autonomy?
Being constantly inundated with "new" is such a shockingly new concept that happened so quickly that I sometimes sit in the bath (a basin filled with weeks worth of drinkable water that i'm marinating my filth in, not strange whatsoever), or in bed, and try to imagine what my day would look like if I had even the slightest idea of how my life would look 10 years from now. What would my mental state be if I somehow knew nothing would change? How would I act? More at peace? More nihilistic?
In today's bustling, interconnected, often text based world--where so much of who we are is defined by the "new" things we experience -- new love, new travel, new hobbies, tech, food, career, media -- what do we become when we have to define who we are by nothing more than what we are, because we can't expect things to change for us and take us along for the ride?
When you want to look back and see how far you've come, and there is nothing outside of yourself to benchmark, do we become the worst or best versions of ourselves? Does life become simple or more desperate?
Through the simple, seemingly inconsequential act of writing this, I've externalized and made (somewhat) permanent my inner most thoughts. If I couldn't do that, I can't look at this. There is no proof these thoughts existed in the first place. Is that good enough?
Think about what you do during a typical day -- not even a good one. Just typical. How much of it is governed by objects? By transportation? By technology? By thinking of what you and your S.O. want to eat? The internet? Just in pure numbers, hours, minutes--how much? What do our priorities become when we shift them away from the impulse to consume?
None of this is to say that our advancements are bad, but as a thought experiment, try to think--how much of my life is a result of me and not a result of others innovating and taking me along? How much of my day is not dictated by "new"?
I am not sure how much of my life is actually my life, and how much is what I've filled my life with to try to make convenient sense of it in a time where very few realize, or at least verbalize, the exceedingly new strangeness of it all. I'm happy to be along for the ride, yet sometimes I feel like I'm the only one who knows he's on a ride. Moreso in a time where everyone thinks they are 100% responsible for their success.
Do things for your self, do them on your own time, and give everything away.