In the evolution of any kind of social phenomenon, it’s always easy to say that you have reached a high point. Even in the world of iPhones and mobile devices, it’s very easy to say that the best apps have been produced, the best technology has been released and the diverse connectivity infrastructures have been pioneered.
It’s easy to use the past as some sort of crutch because the moment people do that, they no longer are under pressure to innovate. It’s kind of like a cheap trick to get out from under any kind of responsibility to push the technology forward. How can you? The best is behind you. How can you? You’ve already pioneered what you need to pioneer in the past. There’s really no incentive to think ahead or to break things apart to change them to fit new settings.
The underlying assumption is that the best scenarios and situation is in the past. This is why we’re not big fans of “golden ages” Those are fictions. They are intellectual straight jackets that really don’t lead anywhere.
It’s kind of like saying that you have found “the best” Best what? For example, you’re looking for a blender and your friend says “I have the best blender for you.” So you go to Amazon, get yourself a unit and by the time it’s delivered to your place and you use it, you find out in the worst way possible that it’s a disappointment.
On top of all of that, to get your money back, you have to hassle and send that pile of garbage back. What went wrong? Your friend actually thought that it was the best. How bad could it be?
The thing is, you are not your friend. Your friend has a different set of assumptions, perspectives and circumstances. What makes sense in a particular setting may not make sense in another setting until and unless those two people are one and the same.
This is why the whole idea of a golden age doesn’t make any sense. Some people might have different values and their golden age take a certain form. Other people have different values and their golden age is yet to come.
This is why we believe that the best years of American cars are still ahead because as much as people try to frame the best things in terms of the past, there’s still exciting stuff to be done now. There’s still new worlds to innovate now. There are all sorts of amazing late breaking technology that are to be disrupted now. The best is still to come because the best technology is still to be developed.
If you don’t believe me, just look at all the things you can do with your mobile phone now that would be flat out sorcery 30 years ago. This is why you really can’t count out Detroit. It might be flat on its back but this doesn’t mean it doesn’t have what it takes to do what it has been doing in the past-swing for the fences when it steps up to the plate.