The invention of things

invention of things

Most creativity depends on building on top of what’s already there.

Novelty exploits and aggregates preexisting stems to manufacture new and different, which is all people pay attention to.

However, what’s new isn’t always copy-pasta, nor is it always welcome. Most inventions and reinventions are dull and undeluded, shocking just at their orientation.

No to new

Newness intercepts everyday exposure by stressing out the senses. For instance, the red stop sign is ubiquitous, obeyed, yet trite and overlooked.

Convert that sign into a magenta-based pentagon, and drivers face an awkward, uncomfortable practice. Paying attention to the road becomes a nuisance again.

We like banal conditions because they rule out the fuss. We dislike unfamiliar territory because of the time it takes to adapt. Refamiliarization triggers an accelerated grimace.

The brain, initially in denial, processes routines slowly before absorbing them. At first, we deny, and then we surrender. Just look at the prevalence of masks during Covid. Initially rejected, the spread begged the normality of N95s to enforce obedience.

Norms are the arbiters of enforcement. Rules are rules, hence the difficulty of going blind to the status quo. As authorities relax and the masks drop, bare face reigns supreme again.

We are conscious automata, often forced to revisit severe control issues that screw up our mental hardware. The least groundbreaking disruption is welcome only to test our patience and wake everyone up again.