I Crave Novelty

I crave novelty. In music, movies, books, podcasts, articles, and documentaries, I want something completely new that I’ve never experienced before. New stories. New sounds. New information. New knowledge. Novel everything. 

That’s why I generally don’t revisit movies or books or even music that I’ve experienced before. No matter how much I liked it, I want something new. Novelty inspires me. Some things are worth revisiting, such as the most novel experiences of the past. Because they are so novel, they require multiple experiences to fully grasp. Like a Christopher Nolan film or Dan Deacon song.

I went through a classic rock phase in high school because that music was completely new to me. Before then, I only listened to contemporary rock, rap, and pop, so older musicians like Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd were all novel to me. I loved them at the time, but not so much anymore—because their music is no longer novel. Sure, I still appreciate those bands and their music, but I rarely listen to them anymore. Been there, done that. There’s no more novelty in classic rock for me. But classic rock was novel to me in the mid-2000s, just as it was novel to the whole world in the 1960s and 70s when the music was originally recorded. 

I think novelty is the key to great art. Good art must create a new experience—perhaps influenced by novelty from the past, but it must be novel itself in some way. However, novelty alone is not enough. Pure novelty can create chaos with no meaning. Novelty must be combined with meaning

Meaning is often found in familiar feelings, emotions, thoughts, and experiences—that is feelings, thoughts, emotions, and experiences people can relate to. The artist must find a new insight or angle or revelation about those familiar things. That’s what the best art does: find novelty in the familiar—or familiarity in the novel. Great art illuminates a truth about the human experience. I crave novelty because I seek more truth.

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