The Zombie Upgrade
February 10, 2009
Why can’t we just get better at things? Instead of trying something new every time, why not improve what we started? I have to ask that when I see everything getting “upgraded”. Yes, everything.
I’m not going to bother researching it, but that word, or concept, has got to be new. This wasn’t happening a while ago. I think what we have now is a kind of psychological disease and what we’re seeing is an epidemic. It’s a runaway situation and there’s no stopping it now. We have a festering wound and nothing short of amputation will save us.
The way the thinking goes: whatever we did before was wrong. I’d believe it if we finally got to where it was “right”. To me the excuse is wearing thin. I don’t believe it any more. I don’t believe we’ll ever get there, and I don’t believe it was “wrong” in the first place. I’ve been lied to.
People hate things that are old. They want things that are new. Right there we have a perfect recipe for failure. The trouble is we cannot see it as a problem because we’re convinced it is a solution. Common sense would tell you that constantly starting over instead of steadily improving is not going to work forever. We’re going to either run out of resources, or out of time. I think both.
As an example, our automobile technology has failed miserably. Cars cost as much as they ever did, and they last much less. Yes I know the average age of cars on the road has risen slowly over the years, but don’t let that fool you. An old car with no plastic can be maintained longer than a new one full of limited lifetime materials. There are model T’s on the road which are in good shape. It remains to be seen that our 21st century cars can run that long. Anyway, don’t forget the bottom line, which is that the need for most of those cars is artificial in the first place.
We hear all kinds of reasons why a newer car is better. One excuse we hear is that they use less gas – as if that mattered. You use less gas by driving less. I would have thought any fool could figure that one out, but apparently not.
We’re not just sick, we’re haunted – dare I say possessed. Of course we could change our beliefs but that is not considered an option. Something has gotten the better of us.
The epidemic shows perhaps most clearly with computers. Upgrade, upgrade, upgrade. Software has to be “maintained” and the process never slows down. People are expected to spend more money on hardware every time there’s a software upgrade. The really twisted thing about this is that computers don’t actually wear out like most other things. Instead of improving the software, we just add to it and change it every time. Nothing ever gets good because it has to change. By the way, I’m writing this using hardware that is more than 15 years old and software that is over 20 – so there!
I wish we could adopt an attitude of not giving up – of sticking to it and getting good – but it seems we can never finish anything. It’s like we’re afraid of standing still. Really, I have to ask: what are we running from?