Why Do We Hate New Ideas Even When We’re Miserable?
I believe in miracles, because in the past 150 years more miracles have been delivered than any other time in history. No, I’m not talking about the gods and their supposed miracle-producing abilities. I’ve lived a good long while and have yet to have witnessed one of those coveted miracles that everyone claims they devote hours of prayer to receiving.
I’m talking about the absolute mind-boggling creations of the gifted humans who possess an enormous amount of curiosity and the ability to think outside the box.
Scientists, engineers, and inventors are three such characters with perseverance and problem solving skills that have dramatically changed the world. The results? Modern lifestyles that not even a king or an emperor in all their splendor were privy to in the past.
I must also give credit to those unearthly creatures who have ideas, lots of ideas.
To them, anything seems possible. To question the way things have been traditionally done comes natural. They aren’t stuck on having the answers as much as they are driven to ask the questions.
Most humans live the same day over and over.
Their time is taken up by breeding, eating, and following directions. There’s no time left over to try anything new and almost no desire to change their routine. In fact, even if offered a way out of their misery, most would prefer to keep things just the same.
Thankfully, there’s always a few change makers.
They rattle our cages after listening to our complaints and soon the questions start rolling in. Why can’t we do this instead of that? Does what we’re currently doing even serve a purpose?
Surely there must be a way to solve this persistent problem?
People laugh at them initially and quickly resist their ideas. The changemakers must continue without any support and often with people purposefully attempting to sabotge their efforts. Yet, unlike the average human who tends to give up when the going gets rough, changemakers seem to have an unbreakable will. It’s almost as though they’re unaware that the rest of us exist.
They’re on a mission and the questions are flowing.
Science and technology have doubled the lifespan in many parts of the world as well as providing technological wonders that have never been seen before. Indeed, as our world population increases exponentially, these advances have managed to provide food for the surging demand.
If only we could remember that we’re living in unprecedented times, but we can’t.
Unlike our ancestors who were personal friends with death, we are surprised to discover that being alive is still risky business. We’ve grown soft, spoiled, and pampered. Our modern lifestyle is something we can’t appreciate because we aren’t even aware that historically, it’s almost a miracle.
We’ve grown accustomed to living in warm houses, with not only lots of food but a huge array of choices.
We take for granted that modern medicine has given us a lease on life that our ancestors weren’t privy to. We don’t realize that clean, running, hot, and cold water makes it possible for us to live better in our homes than kings did in their castles. We take for granted that the mere flip of a switch gives us lights to read by at night and powers are washers and dryers. We have no idea that our cars make our streets cleaner and travel so much easier than back in the day when horse poop was knee high in places like New York City. We are oblivious to the fact that flying cross country to see our grandmother was unheard of in the not so distant past. We don’t realize that having spare time to play video games or watch movies is a luxury unknown to those who came before us.
Yet, it’s all true and so recent as to make our collective memory loss appear to be due to a lack of moral character, utter selfishness.
I know the last two years of a world pandemic has put a major crimp on our wonderfully indulgent, modern lifestyles. I’ve felt it, too. Yet, it is a bit humbling to find ourselves resentfully waiting to get back to normal.
Our normal that we’re longing to return to WAS the brand new normal not so long ago.
Humans for most of history did not live like we live today in many countries. And, as our scientists struggle to gather data and interpret evolving information, even develop something that might get us back to normal, it would behoove us to understand that without their efforts over the years, the normal we long to return to would have never happened.
The least we can do is be patient as they work to figure out the COVID dilemma, the climate change dilemma, the water dilemma and so many pressing challenges that the world faces today.
And, yes, we have created many of these modern problems for ourselves. Not because change makers ask too many questions and then struggle to find answers. Oh, no, it’s because the non change makers tend to take the new answers and corrupt them by overindulging and capitalizing on the very ideas they once fought against because they hate change of any kind.
Ideas as a whole are not welcome in our boring world of average Joes who are largely interested in watching TV, spending money they don’t have, and breeding and eating.
But once a new idea becomes normalized, that is, everyone seems to be doing it, then they’ll latch on to it and go down with ship if anyone comes up with a better idea.
It’s not that there’s too few ideas or a limit on the amount of questions we can have, it’s that we hate new ideas. For centuries, the oldest generation has always made it their job to look down on the youngest generation with disdain. Why? Because the youngest generation is living in a different world than the oldest generation occupied when they were young. They’re responding to their world with lots of ideas and questions. Rather than allow them to ask questions and offer ideas, the oldest generation tries to keep changes from happening.
They don’t like being questioned.
So, they accuse the youngest generation of impertinence and disrespect, lack of experience, and of being a spoiled brat. They slow down progress but in the end always end up losing what they’re trying in desperation to hold on to.
They’re so desperate to keep the youngest generation from changing things that sometimes they appear to prefer regressing to a previous older generation’s way of doing things.
It’s as though they begin to think that THEY should have listened to their parents back in the day. If only they had, none of these changes that they’re being forced to accept would’ve happened.
But that’s not true. Life isn’t a stagnant affair. Nothing stays the same.
And, as we struggle to survive in a world that needs more cooperation not less, we lower our chances of survival in the long run by resisting new ideas. Can you even imagine a world where fresh new ideas were considered valuable? Where asking questions was expected?
Where routines were disrupted when we realized that they kept us traveling in a continuous loop going nowhere?
If only we understood that it’s not the gods performing miracles but our own creativity that offers solutions that appear to resemble miracles. Yet, they aren’t really miracles because the right questions were always there just waiting to be asked.
Knowledge is essential to progress and progress guarantees change.
Gaining knowledge gives us a better chance to ask the right questions. Asking the right questions results in slow but steady progress. Yet, while change is inevitable, progress is not. Ultimately, that’s the scariest part of this whole human dilemma. We can regress. We can even lose our collective knowledge.
That’s what some would call the Dark Ages, an era when the lights go out and we no longer can solve problems because we no longer know which questions to ask.
Teresa Roberts is a retired educator, author, world traveler, and professional myth buster. You can find her books on Amazon.