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Steve Bruno

Web Project Manager,

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Why is "old-fashioned" a negative thing?

Should we always be reinventing ourselves? Is there nothing worth holding on to? Sorry for the vagueness of the question, I am trying not to get into any specific issue purposely. I feel that we can be so quick to embrace the new and throw out the old, just for the simple fact that it is old, but is that enough reason for the rejection.

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    Jun 1 2011: I wouldn't say old fashioned is negative per se...

    but:
    - TED tends to attract a lot of early adapters and new-seekers... so they would go for new ideas over older ones...
    - a lot of old things are just not valid anymore or are replaced by better alternatives.

    On the contrary, if something good has been found, developed or invented in the past, and still is usefull, it should not be regarded as negative... (I think of a myriad of examples, ranging from the wheel to hot water to moral values over laws of science, mathematics to historical books, paintings, art,...)

    So conservative people would rather keep it with what we have, not risking to throw it away for something that is not proven to be better or good.
    and progressive people seek improvement, risk for value, don't fear new things, and try to move and improve, building upon what already exists.

    I guess there is a middle to be found between the two: keep the good, improve where possible, and try new things to see whether it can be used on a broader scale.
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    Jun 2 2011: The term is the problem. Old fashioned assumes that new fashion is so much better than previous fashions, interestingly I see fashion repeating itself, maybe with a new twist but it often echoes some past fashion. So what is wrong with the term? Simply this, "old fashioned" can be applied to ideas and thinking in a derogatory way. For those of us of more mature years we can remember the times when we used the term in a derogatory way, sometimes denouncing the ways of our elders. So, with that memory it kind of sticks in our mind that maybe we are perceived as "old fashioned".

    So, with this background, I do listen to young people to get a sense of what the world looks like through their eyes. I do also offer advice at times, when it is asked for, and do not get put off that my advice maybe viewed as "old fashioned". I resign myself to a view that maybe, with age, I do have some wise words to offer and do not get upset if they are rejected as "old fashioned". The world is free and everyone in it has entitlement to their opinion.
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    Jun 1 2011: People believe in progress for many years, we think that we should be better as time goes on. You can read something on philosophy of progress. Nisbet's "History of the Idea of the progress." is a good start.

    You can question that idea of course: How do we measure progress? Are we really more developed?
  • Jun 7 2011: I think it's because the human race is and has always been about moving forward, about innovation. That's because we want to be the best, and it's true that as things age they get worn out and eventually 'die'. The goal of innovation is to make something better, and so new things must be better, no?
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    Jun 5 2011: It's a good question.

    Arguably, holding on to tradition is stupid and admirable at the same time.

    Is it for practical reasons that we hold on to certain traditions or is it nostalgia for some half-remembered childhood?