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How has pessimism hindered human progress?

2023-09-25 19:30:00, Kuriozitete Burcu Başaran

How has pessimism hindered human progress?

In 1899, Charles H. Duell, the commissioner of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, made the famous statement: "Everything that can be invented has already been invented!". This phrase, often misunderstood as a statement about the end of innovations in technology, was actually a kind joke about the evolution and continuous improvement of inventions during a period of very rapid innovation and frequent patent applications, emphasizing the presence steady stream of new ideas as technology continued to advance.

History has repeatedly shown that innovation and discovery continue to move forward, and new possibilities are constantly being explored and developed. Duell's statement, often quoted and interpreted as a blunder, serves as a reminder that innovation is a continuous process and that human creativity knows no bounds.

Furthermore, as is natural to the nature of things, there will always be a trajectory to move forward. If something continues to exist, it can only make real progress. The most fundamental aspect of evolutionary existence is best shown in the survival of the fittest principle.

How has pessimism hindered human progress?

The paranoia surrounding the evils of today stems from the downright pessimistic attitude of some people. It is widespread but without much foundation, especially considering the ups and downs of humanity's past and its inherent tendency to move forward.

Today, we live in a world that would have been beyond Duell's imagination in his day. We have bots “that think like Sofia, and artificial intelligence programs like ChatGPT, that give answers and provide information on many areas of life.

Even the once more common issues, such as fatal sleep accidents when babies sleep with their parents, which was once one of the main causes of infant mortality in the 19th century, or newborns suffering from hygiene-related diseases, are no longer a concern today. great concern.

Tomorrow, we may find ourselves in a world that even a visionary like Elon Musk could not have foreseen. It is certain that we will wake up in a world that will be "more advanced" in many aspects. Can we apply the same creative skills?

Given the true meaning of this often misunderstood Duell sentence, I say "Why not?". Of course, many people do not share my view. For example, Batuhan Takish, the editor-in-chief of this newspaper. In his latest book, "Welcome to the Age of Post-Greatness," he writes that despite our longer life spans, increased knowledge, advanced technology, and artificial intelligence, we seem to have failed to create this century any extraordinary achievements.

How has pessimism hindered human progress?

According to him, the era of producing exceptional masterpieces, appreciated from generation to generation, is gone, and he attributes this change to a number of very valuable factors. But the limits that Takish talks about in his work are only obstacles to be overcome on the way to other literary successes.

Thus many writers, poets and dramatists have overcome similar obstacles and achieved great successes, which were considered unattainable. Shakespeare did not withdraw from writing the play "Hamlet", fearing that he could be another playwright who would be forgotten over time.

He knew that there was something rotten in the kingdom of Denmark, and he did not stop himself from telling the truth, of course with his special eloquence. The main reason for humanity's tendency to create new artifacts is its imagination and ability to imagine. What actually makes humans different from all other living things is their ability to think abstractly. Since abstraction is an infinite field in itself, there can be no perceptible limit to human imagination and artistic creation.

In his novel "Afterwords to the book The Name of the Rose", the Italian writer Umberto Eco writes: "While writing this book, I rediscovered what writers have always known (and have always told us): books always talk about other books, and each story tells a story that has already been told."

The famous director Quentin Tarantino once stated: "I steal from every movie that has already been made." If my work has any merit, it lies in the way I mix elements from different sources."

I myself share a particular point of view with the post-modernists: the concept that there is no such thing as absolute originality in the field of art. In fact, especially in the realm of art, copying and re-interpretations are the very essence of artistic creation. In reality, the concept of true originality has never existed.

Everything we come across today, be it stories, movies, books or even the content that floods social media, is essentially a re-configuration of existing material. I think pessimism is the plague of our age. It prevents us not only from creating, but makes the very thought of it terrifying.

If an artist, writer, scientist or anyone who is driven to create, they will. Distractions may occur, but they can never completely stop the creative process.

They may not have an immediate appreciation; maybe no one will read it, or it may even face criticism. However, these challenges should never deter us from pursuing our creative endeavors./ " Daily Sabah " - Translated and adapted by CNA

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