It’s always puzzled me, dear reader, when I watch a documentary about people in “ancient times” and the narrators are amazed at the accomplishments of the people. Scientists believe that our modern brains have been around for about 200K years. That means the early humans were working with the same brains we have today, right? Sure they didn’t have the same tools we have today, but they had what was — basically — the same brain. Why wouldn’t they be able to do “wondrous” things with it? Now, if they’d come across a wolf population that had somehow built an ancient temple, then I’d be amazed, but I never understood why people are always awed and amazed by human structures… just because they’re old.
What does this have to do with “new”? Well, just like our brains, our… I dunno… reactions to things have been around a long time. Nothing is new here. Politicians have always been untrustworthy and unliked. I mean, come on, they stabbed Julius Caesar to death on the Senate floor. Did y’all think that was just a play by Shakespeare? Hell no. Of course, the senate wasn’t much better back then, they only killed Caesar because he was blocking them from doing what they wanted. I mean, sure he was a ruthless dictator, but I guess Rome had their fair share of bad dictators… I mean Caligula (also assassinated) or Nero (took his own life to avoid assassination by Senate) spring to mind. But I digress. My point is, as long as there are more than five humans alive, there will be conflict. It’s human nature to disagree, because in the end, we are individuals with our own opinions. We may not always come to blows over our disagreements, but we will disagree. Some of y’all don’t even agree with the previous statements… which proves my point. There is nothing new about conflict, or even with the way we resolve conflicts. Nothing happening is new, some of it may be different, but it’s not new. We humans are, after all, creatures of habit.
The thing is, we individuals like to think we are precious snowflakes and that our particular circumstances are unique and special. We tend to believe that our tribe is the best and brightest among all of the tribes. I suppose that’s hardwired in our brains too. That’s not new either. Every person is unique and special and every tribe is the best and the brightest. Just ask anyone. They’ll tell you. Read the stories, watch the movies. Every protagonist is the hero and every country is a shining example of what a country should be. For as long as humans have stood on two legs and recognized those around them as kin… it’s been this way. But no, this time it’s different. This time it’s new. I guess. Our generation is going to be the generation that changes things. I suppose. It’s not like every generation before us has thought the same thing. Just read the treatises about war and peace, they’ll tell you the same. Very few people actually want war and those that do, well… I think that many of them don’t understand what war actually is — death and destruction. Warmongers, some of them, IMHO, they just have a general idea of “war”. But the majority of us, I think that most of us want to live our lives in peace. And there’s nothing new there either.
And it’s not just politics. People often complain that the stories they read/watch or the games they play are copies of others. Well, it’s true. As many people have pointed out there are basically seven story types (I’ll link to this one) and seven basic archetypes to live within those stories (link to a site explaining Aristotle’s Poetics). While that can lead to myriad story choices, over the years, those choices are going to repeat. It’s inevitable. Eventually there’s going to be nothing new except how the words are arranged on the page, and even then there’s going to be duplicate sentences. I think there’s some saying somewhere about putting 100 monkeys on typewriters and eventually they’ll make a sentence. Here’s that thought. My take is that with all of those monkeys punching away on typewriters, I’m betting that there’s gonna be duplicate strings of text (readable or not). Because that’s just the way things work. I’m not a mathematician, so I can’t bang out a theorem to back my idea up, but I betcha it could happen. And I’ll wager that my idea, dear reader, isn’t new either. ^_^ Does that mean writers should stop writing? Nah, because even though there’s nothing new under the sun, there are still stories to be told. Because while the stories are not new, they are different. I think that the purveyors of those stories just need to stop expecting new and be content with different. After all, even The Bard borrowed heavily from other people. Then again, it was the thing back in his day. I wrote a paper about that.
Anyway, my back is giving me fits (again) so I’m gonna cut this short. My main point is that despite what the ‘news’ would have everyone believe, this isn’t a new and impending crisis. None of this is new. Crime is actually lower now than it’s been in twenty years — in the USA at least. Whether it will remain that way is another thing altogether, because we are what we are, dear reader, and we are human after all.