Novel                                -                      New
Horizontal                         -                      Vertical
Surface                              -                      Depth
Playful                               -                      Serious

M. - If you're always looking for novelty, you're often depriving yourself of the most essential truths.

The antidote to suffering and to belief in a self consists of going to the very source of your thoughts and recognizing the ultimate nature of the mind. How could such a truth ever grow old?  

What novelty could 'outmode' a teaching that lays bare the very workings of the mind?

Very often, fascination with things that are new and different is a reflection of inner impoverishment. Unable to find happiness within ourselves, we desperately look for it outside, in objects, in experiences, in ever stranger ways of thinking and acting. In short, we get further away from happiness by looking for it where it simply isn't to be found.

It seems to me that the notion of novelty, the desire to keep on inventing things through a fear of copying the past, is an exaggeration of the importance given to the 'personality', to the individuality that's supposed to express itself in an original way at any price.

J.F. - [...] Do you think [that] Buddhism might provide a refuge for people who are fed up with the whole tyranny of novelty?

M. - [...] If you try to see where that thirst for novelty comes from, it seems to arise from neglect of the inner life.

We stop going back to the source of things, and the idea occurs to us that by trying all sorts of new things we might be able to compensate for that feeling of lacking something.

[Matthieu Ricard]
and [Jean-Francois Revel]
The Monk and the Philosopher, p.313

[...] the idea that the artist should always be trying to give free rein to his imagination is clearly foreign to traditional sacred art, which exists to provide material for meditation and reflection.

Artists put all their heart and talent into what they do, but their personality vanishes completely behind their work.  

For that reason, Tibetan painting is essentially anonymous.

Western art often tries to create an imaginary world, while sacred art helps to penetrate to the nature of reality. Ordinary art's aimed at rousing the passions, sacred art at stilling them. Sacred dance, painting, and music try to establish a link with spiritual wisdom in the world of forms and sounds. They're arts whose goal is to link us through their symbolism with spiritual knowledge and practice.

The traditional artist puts all his skill into the quality of his art, but he'll never just give his imagination free rein to invent completely new symbols or forms.

[Matthieu Ricard]
The Monk and the Philosopher, p.310

It is very easy to fall into the notion that if the new is viable, then there must have been something wrong with the old. This view, to which organisms already suffering the pathologies of over-rapid, frantic social change are inevitably prone, is, of course, mostly nonsense.

What is always important is to be sure that the new is not worse than the old.

It is still not certain that a society containing the internal combustion engine can be viable or that electronic communication devices such as television are compatible with the aggressive intraspecies competition generated by the Industrial Revolution. 

Other things being equal (which is not often the case), the old, which has been somewhat tested, is more likely to be viable than the new, which has not been tested at all.

[Gregory Bateson]
Mind and Nature, p. 194-5

The left hemisphere ‘creates’ newness by recombining in a novel fashion what is already known, not as imagination does, by allowing something that we thought we knew to be truly revealed for the first time.

It is like those children's books with pages split into three, in which you can invent a new animal by putting together the head of a camel, the body of a seal and the legs of a goat.

It produced, by the reliable contrivances of inversion or random juxtaposition, the novelty of the artificial, the bizarre, the unnatural and the obscurely menacing: Gerard de Nerval, with his green hair, taking a lobster for a walk on a string; the perverse self-indulgent world of Huysman's Ă€ Rebours (‘Against Nature’); or de LautrĂ©amont in Les Chants de Maldoror (from ‘mal d'aurore’, an ‘evil dawn’) speaking of the ‘chance encounter of a sewing-machine and an umbrella on a dissecting-table’.

Newness (seeing afresh what one thought of as familiar, as though for the first time – the patient process of Romanticism) and novelty (deliberately disturbing the representation of reality in an attempt to ‘shock’ oneself into something that feels unfamiliar) are contrary concepts.

[...] one can make something that the explicit had deadened to total inauthenticity come to life again: as ‘perceived and not as … known’.

[Iain McGilchrist]
The Master and His Emissary, p. 408, 412

[...] the reason for looking for new interpretations is always that they will be better than the readings (or some of the readings) we have produced so far, and not simply the fact that they are new.

[Alexander Nehamas]
Nietzsche: Life as Literature, p. 63

Gradually we become tired of the old, of what we safely possess, and we stretch out our hands again. Even the most beautiful scenery is no longer assured of our love after we have lived in it for three months, and some more distant coast attracts our avarice: possessions are generally diminished by possession.

Our pleasure in ourselves tries to maintain itself by again and again changing something new into ourselves; that is what possession means. 

To become tired of some possession means tiring of ourselves. (One can also suffer of an excess—the lust to throw away or to distribute can also assume the honorary name of "love.") 

[Friedrich Nietzsche]
The Gay Science, 14

Humanity has not got the good out of its inventions; and by making more and more inventions, it is only leaving its own power of happiness further and further behind. 

[G. K. Chesterton]
The Outline of Sanity, p. 131

Related posts:-
Lines and Circles
All is Change
Status Quo
The Preoccupied Mind
Having to hide from Being
Sell Yourself
Sell Out
Make It Personal
Make it Big, or Make it Right?
Familiar Territory
Safe Distance
Open Source
Rooted in blood and soil 
Information and Knowledge 
Welcome to La-La Land 
Live Forever?  
Who's steering the ship?
Forever Meta