Wednesday, November 17, 2010

New Man vs Old Man

The old man clings to the past but tends to lose his grip on it over time. He is set in his ways and a ghost of what once was.

The new man is somewhat of a tyro who wants more but lacks perspective and so has a limited world view. He tends to be more adaptive but suffers from a lack of restraint due to an uncritical nature. Oversimplification leaves him prone to error.

Caesar was a new man who did not respect bounds and ended up with delusions of grandeur. Cicero, also a new man, recognized the need for moderation and balance. He was a rare breed who tried to see both sides but was not fully accepted by either side.

The Renaisance saw a re-emergence of the new man and the beginnings of the Reformation. The spirit of self-determination gained ascendency in northern Europe. In America too there was a break brought about by its treatment as a protectorate by a remote government. America was the New World and its people sought a new beginning. The Enlightenment with its progressive viewpoint had spurred change but the excesses of the French Revolution and the rise of Napoleon raised a lot of doubts.

Perhaps the best approach is that of the "regenerative receiver". He too is no longer satisfied with predetermined solutions and seeks a better picture by reworking the problem. In the process he acquires some knowledge of what is missing. Additional creativity allows one to go beyond what has already been accomplished. A broader perspective takes one beyond the here and now. But the wise man is also interested in bounds.

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