A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

Neophobe or Neophile

Two terms to describe the opposite viewpoints about things new to us. Neo come from the ancient Greek word neos which means young or new. Phobe from the ancient Greek word phobos, which means fearing. While phile means to love or enthusiast for, again derived from ancient Greek.

So when it comes to accepting new ideas, adopting new technology, or meeting new people of different cultures which describes you, or are you a neophobe in some areas and a neophile in other areas of your life. Lets look at a few areas where you can be one or the other.

New ideas have occurred since before man discovered how to control fire, and these ideas have been circulated and improved on. Take fire as an example, it can keep us warm, give light, scare away predators, dry our clothes and ourselves, cook our food, and it can also destroy everything in it’s path. Yet man learned how to control this force of nature, and made it a tool, which we still depend on today. The same with any technology that has been discovered, or will be discovered in the future. Nuclear energy has advantages and disadvantages, so does solar power, fossil fuels, wind power yet the world’s demand for power continues to grow. As an individual are you contributing to this demand for power, if so have you thought about how this power should be provided, and what costs, both economical and environmental you are willing to pay to get access to the power you need? Does everybody in the world have the same right to use the amount of energy you consume, on a daily basis? Can the world support the production of the energy your lifestyle requires? How about other beings on the planet, are they to have their homes sacrificed in the pursuit of this power?

Today in medicine we have progressed to the point where a fair number of injuries are repairable, including the replacement of limbs, a damaged heart, loss of hearing to name a few. We have stepped on to the path of gene therapy to treat diseases, including while the fetus is in the womb, known as in utero treatment. If you suffer from type two diabetes, you may have access to islet transplants using cells harvested from a pig, to restore your insulin production. Treatments for such diseases as cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, and cancer have emerged, some already in use others in testing. If we could cure all disease and extend the average human life span to one hundred years or more, the question is should we do so? What impacts on the economy would this have, on the learning of a skill to support your family and keep up employment?

Perhaps you are the type of person who rapidly accepts and adopts all the new technology, should companies have to make major improvements before releasing a new model, or are incremental improvements acceptable? Many loyal IPhone owners were upset when the lifespan of a model became less than a year. Microsoft has an approximate 3 year life span for a new version of Windows, and support for an extra four years. How about manufactures of vehicles that sell next years model, before this year is barely started, should this be regulated to give uniformity, or will we soon see the release of the 2020 NVC (new vehicle concept) to consumers in 2018 perhaps, skipping the 2019 model year altogether.

The day of the implantable cell phone are rapidly approaching, will you be one of the first to adopt these, or will you be a hold out? Consider you won’t have to worry about losing or forgetting your cell phone. However you will never be able to say you didn’t have it when the boss is asking why you didn’t answer. Or perhaps your enjoying some quality time with your spouse, and really want the privacy. There are also the potential health risks involved, or do you consider those an acceptable trade off, for the convenience. For myself, fittingly I walk a middle path, neither afraid of advances in our knowledge, yet not always being on the bleeding edge of adopting new ideas.

These are not easy questions to answer, but answer them we must, and our decisions will impact all other beings on the planet. So are you a neophile or a neophobe?

Speaking of technology, here’s a post from Tilly about it.

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5 thoughts on “Neophobe or Neophile

  1. phobe… but, that’s just because I don’t want to spend the money on the newest, latest and greatest gadget. I usually end up getting them eventually (though I have been a hold out on DVR/TiVo, iPhone, iPad, Facebook, BlueRay, and a few other things that I don’t see any added value in); I just don’t see the point in rushing out to get them right away. If I wait a year, I can get the same product for half the cost. And will my life really be all that worse/better off with this new gadget?

  2. Love exploring some new things but am leery of others, though I hesitate to call it phobia.

  3. Oh my. Neophobe or Neophile | A Western Buddhist’s Travels was a good read!. Beautiful.

  4. Somewhere in between, I think.

    Thanks for the link :)

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