I believe that technology and more specifically the desire for new products creates the quest for novelty.
Novelty in itself is not good or bad. However it plays extremely important role in moving societies forward.
Feels like partly because of this quest and desire for novelty America became one of the most liberal and progressive countries. Think about gay and trans rights and things like that (of course it’s almost impossible to make any statement about the US because it’s a gigantic country and there are many points I can make that would contradict my initial statement). To me America is on the forefront of the social progress.
The opposite to the quest for novelty is the feeling of nostalgia. Consider russian federation where big chunk of culture is build on the references to the past (to WWII, to Soviet times, and even to the times of some emperor 300 years ago).
Nostalgia is about the past and novelty is about the future. If your culture is about nostalgia it soon makes society looking backwards instead of looking forward. American society is dominated by the quest for novelty while russian is dominated by the quest for nostalgia.
How often do we hear the critique of the American society and all the problems it has? Very often. Yet, still many people want to come to America and build the life. One of the reasons for that is optimism embedded in the American mythos and the idea that you can build a better future there. Optimism is an important thing to have in society. It’s ok to have issues but it’s paramount to have understanding that tomorrow can be better and issues can be fixed.
America has its nostalgia too. Country music, big parts of country wanting traditional life. But to me it is just a subset of the society, it’s not a dominant part. In fact this split in America makes my point. In America you can see the past and you can see the future. And you can make a choice what you like. And many young people are making that choice over and over again.
Why it’s important to think about it? So that we can ask ourselves in what society do we want to live. Do I want to live in the society that just obsessed with new gadgets and constant changes? Probably - no. But I do want to live in the society that has more to it than just reminiscing about the past.
Novelty is about optimism and nostalgia is mostly about pessimism. And most importantly novelty is about agency. Because it’s about the future. And future is changeable. It’s up to us to define it and make it. While the past is mostly immutable and leaves you no outlet for action.