Old vs New vs Good

A prominent digital designer was in Tokyo recently, and shared a story about an experience he had in his neighborhood in London. He decided to embark on a journey to as many antique shops as possible, and to purchase antiques with particularly romantic stories attached to them. Unexpectedly, each of the shopkeepers surprised him with a consistent response to his question, “Tell me about this object.” The dominant responses being, “Well, it’s *old*.” Or, “It’s from the 1800s, and is really *old*.”

He found this response of “it’s old” (and therefore it’s *good*) quite puzzling. And then got to thinking how as a digital, “new media” person folks would ask him about his work to which he would respond, “It’s digital. It’s *new*.” And by the same token, implicitly, it’s *good.* He realized that neither “new” nor “old” are sufficient rationales to express quality. That the quality of “good” is something more. Like this story he related. It’s a good one, for certain. -JM