Let’s face the truth: we live in a turbo-charged world of information. Well, not so much “information,” because the digital data flying around at light speed isn’t so much “informative,” as it is speculative, fear-driven, or based on tribal rally cries.
The word freedom has long been used to rally people into mindlessly accepting something. What is freedom? It’s a word you learn slowly, and not because you’re stupid. But because you can’t point at freedom like a tree and say “hey Johnny, that’s freedom over there.” So, what winds up happening is you learn to accept interpretations that your tribe inculcates upon you.
People rarely pipe up and say “hold on, what exactly do you mean when you say freedom?” We’re conditioned to blindly accept that the word means something sort of specific, or that it means more or less the same thing to lots of people.
The word “innovation” is like freedom, except it’s for tribes that roam the plains of technology. What does innovation mean, exactly? It means nothing useful (to most people, anyway). It’s simply a tribal rallying cry. It’s like those birds that sing a beautiful song, and you think “oh that’s such a pretty melody.” In reality, the bird is letting other birds know to stay away from his territory.
These songbirds exist in all realms of our world, seemingly purveying information but in reality simply marking territory.
An example would be the devout Android user who comments when Apple has a major event to announce new products. The devoted bird from the Android tribe is compelled to quickly proclaim after hearing the announcements “Apple’s version of innovation is to copy features that Android has had for a long time, and rebrand them as their own.” The commentary has to end on a really strong note, so here’s what we get: “I predict that, next, Apple will adopt a cute little robot looking character that looks like a walking apple. Then, they will start naming their “new” versions after fruit.”
Right, that’s totally plausible.
Of course, Apple’s Phil Schiller was using the same technique when, after announcing the new Mac Pro, said “can’t innovate anymore, my ass!” The Apple tribe loved it. Because they’re predisposed to accept their tribal leaders’ definitions.
When we talk about innovation and freedom it’s good to remember that people who trumpet those words aren’t even trying to convey useful information. These words are simply containers for entrenched viewpoints. If you want to figure out what innovation is you’re on your own. No one is interested in helping you understand what innovation really is.
Or freedom either, for that matter.
Ever notice how the only people who seem to know exactly what “freedom” means are politicians and people with strong agendas?