When Success is Equated With Excess…

Photo Credit: victorstuff.com

Photo Credit: victorstuff.com

Love it or hate it, there’s no going around it: throughout history, money has been behind strong pushes towards innovation.  Want proof?  Social Security: pushed by John D. Rockefeller because he was done with placing his own profits into the pensions of the employees.  Haydn: was able to experiment with new styles and be fully original in Esterházy because the prince funded and supported his work.

The list goes on.

Love it or hate it, in order for innovation to bloom, one needs capital. to bring the concept to fruition—and there’s nothing wrong with that at all.  Money is like any other tool that helps one get from point A to B.

However, despite the flow of money being accessed by the middle class, why is there not a geyser of innovation bursting from our generation?

Before you get appalled by my question, think about it for a second.  Innovation should not be synonymous to “new.”  The iPhone 5 may be a nice upgrade from the iPhone 4, but nothing is purely new.  The potential of the Amazon Air is rather intriguing, but we’ve had drones for a long time.

When I say innovative, I’m looking for something profoundly different.  The microchip, for example, opened up an array of possibilities.  The Autobahn and other highway systems reformed the way we thought of transportation.  And then, of course, there’s the wheel—what would we do without that?

The 21st century seems to be a prime time for radically unique inventions and technologies, yet why is it that I don’t see it?  Is it because of the lack of awareness?  Is it because of too much awareness—overload of ideas?  Is it because we’re getting dumber than previous generations?  I think some of those ideas hold weight, but my argument is simple: money.

Wait, Jon: didn’t you just say money supports innovation?

Yes.  However, innovation means risk.  One does not know how someone will receive a completely different idea.  There definitely were skeptics to the notion that the British Colonies could become a republic.  Innovation means uncertainty, which means less people will back it up—even if it’s a brilliant idea!  However, if we only back what is certain, how can anything be profoundly new?

Many businesses in this culture are more concerned about making a buck than creating something refreshingly new.  Take video games.  Most supposed “AAA” game is a shooter of some sort (mostly first person) where their constant sequels differ very little besides graphics.  Nintendo’s latest console the Wii U, on the other hand, despite creating something innovative, has been mauled by critics for being underpowered.  Is it any wonder why people think this may be the last generation of console gaming?

For you non-gamers, try movies.  Think of all the reboots we have of movies.  While some directors do create a more immersive experience than their predecessor, by nature, there is nothing fresh to reboots.  Robocop.  Man of Steel.  Godzilla.  The best part is, they all have a similar formula: take the old, amp up the special effects, and make the intensity level exponentially bigger.  While overgeneralized, it does hold truth, and by nature, there is nothing fresh to formulas.

Entrepreneur Marcus Lemonis states that money should be a byproduct of a company, not its purpose.  If artists want to make something amazing, their goal should not be to make bank.  While one should be concerned about their budget, their eyes should be on the horizon, not the wallet.  Otherwise, their product will become stale and worthless.  No one wants that.

Innovation and creativity takes risk.  Isn’t that something that should be commended for?

When success is equated with excess
The ambition for excess wrecks us
As the top of the mind becomes a bottom line
When success is equated with excess
—”American Dream” Jon Foreman

About Jonathan Seligman

Jon is the Co-Founder and Executive Editor of NWYT. While his main profession is in education/music/history, he has a deep passion for philosophy, theology, ice cream, and everything else that life has to offer. See All of Jon’s Posts

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