The first month of the new year is coming to a close. The newness has worn off but hopefully not the enthusiasm to do better, strive higher. I’ve been examining how easily we, as a society, assume that new is always better. Is it?
I’m not talking about experiences like that of cracking open a brand new exercise book. How many people remember the smell of new paper and the firm smoothness of that first right-hand page? I’m thinking more on the lines of products that promise to cut short your effort and time. Not new and improved but new and different. Let me explain the distinction.
Spring loaded secateurs made the task of pruning and clipping much easier. It was the same tool made better by the spring action. A simple tweak. It put no pressure on the user to relearn anything or perform the task in a different way. That is new and improved.
New and different is not so simple. Consider the lawn mower. The manual push reel mower does a good job. But it can be slow and one labors a bit in pushing it around. So, enter the power mower. Gets the job done in half the time. The gardener can now afford to take a nap in the hammock. But, not just anybody can use this mower anymore. The young tween has lost his lucrative enterprise since, using a power mower demands a more mature understanding on how to operate it and a greater degree of muscle strength to keep control of the machine. Along with that, there’s a demand for an energy source be it electric or gas, as well as a jump in noise and air pollution. Not to mention a spike in mower related visits to the ER.
I won’t elaborate further. Instead, give yourself some time to think about this topic. There might be a shift to how you approach the new. There are indeed some things that have been true godsends and there are those that one wishes had never been invented. We need to be mindful of what or which ‘new’ we embrace. I’d love to know your thoughts.
I recently saw this sign “ Try Something New, Learn From The Old”. More food for thought.
(c) Shobha Vanchiswar 2013