Neophile


Neophile

Neophile or Neophiliac is a term used by counterculture cult writer Robert Anton Wilson to describe a particular type of personality. A neophile or neophiliac can be defined as a personality type characterized by a strong affinity for novelty. The phrase was used earlier by Christopher Booker in his book The Neophiliacs (1969).

Contents

Characteristics

Neophiles/Neophiliacs have the following basic characteristics:

  • The ability to adapt rapidly to extreme change
  • A distaste or downright loathing of tradition, repetition, and routine
  • A tendency to become bored quickly with old things
  • A desire, bordering on obsession in some cases, to experience novelty
  • A corresponding and related desire to create novelty by creating or achieving something and/or by stirring social or other forms of unrest.

A neophile is distinct from a revolutionary in that anyone might become a revolutionary if pushed far enough by the reigning authorities or social norms, whereas neophiles are revolutionaries by nature. Their intellectual abhorrence of tradition and repetition usually bemoans a deeper emotional need for constant novelty and change. The meaning of neophile approaches and is not mutually exclusive to the term visionary, but differs in that a neophile actively seeks first-hand experience of novelty rather than merely pontificating about it.

The opposite of a neophile is a neophobe; a person with an aversion to novelty and change. Wilson observes that neophobes tend to regard neophiles, especially extreme ones, with fear and contempt, and to brand them with titles such as "witch," "satanist," "heretic," etc. He also speculates in his Prometheus Rising series of books that the industrial revolution and related enlightenment represents one of the first periods of history in which neophiles were a dominant force in society. Neophiles accelerate change because they like it that way.

Types

Open-source advocate and programmer Eric S. Raymond observes that this personality is especially prevalent in certain fields of expertise; in business, these are primarily computer science and other areas of high technology. Raymond speculates that the rapid progress of these fields (especially computers) is a result of this. A neophile's love of novelty is likely to lead him or her into subjects outside of the normal areas of human interest. Raymond observes a high concentration of neophiles in or around what he calls "leading edge subcultures" such as science fiction fandom, neo-paganism, transhumanism, etc. as well as in or around nontraditional areas of thought such as fringe philosophy or the occult. Raymond observes that most neophiles have roving interests and tend to be widely well-read.

There is more than one type of neophile. There are social neophiles (the extreme social butterfly), intellectual neophiles (the revolutionary philosopher and the technophile), and physical/kinetic neophiles (the extreme sports enthusiast). These tendencies are not mutually exclusive, and might exist simultaneously in the same individual.

The word "neophilia" has particular significance in Internet and hacker culture. The New Hacker's Dictionary gave the following definition to neophilia -

The trait of being excited and pleased by novelty. Common among most hackers, SF fans, and members of several other connected leading-edge subcultures, including the pro-technology 'Whole Earth' wing of the ecology movement, space activists, many members of Mensa, and the Discordian/neo-pagan underground (see geek). All these groups overlap heavily and (where evidence is available) seem to share characteristic hacker tropisms for science fiction, music.

Recent research uncovered a possible link between certain predisposition to some kind of neophilia and increased levels of the enzyme monoamine oxidase A.[1]

See also

External links

References

  1. ^ The disorder of these times, neophilia, by Heidi Dawley, published June 18, 2006, retrieved on May 22, 2007

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • neophile — /nēˈə fīl/ noun 1. Someone who loves novelty and new things 2. Someone who is obsessive about keeping up to date with fashion, trends, etc ORIGIN: ↑neo and ↑ phile • • • neophilˈia noun neophilˈiac noun …   Useful english dictionary

  • neophile — one who loves novelty and trends Love and Attraction …   Phrontistery dictionary

  • neophile — n. person who loves novelty, one who likes trends; person who accept the future enthusiastically and enjoys changes and evolution …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Neophilia — is defined as a love of novelty and new things. A neophiliac or neophile is an individual who is unusually accepting of new things and excited by novelty.The word has particular significance in Internet and hacker culture. The New Hacker s… …   Wikipedia

  • Topic outline of transhumanism — Transhumanism is a class of philosophies that seek to guide us towards a posthuman condition. Transhumanism shares many elements of humanism, including a respect for reason and science, a commitment to progress, and a valuing of human (or… …   Wikipedia

  • Blackbox (Online-Community) — Die Blackbox ist eine 1992 als Wiener Mailbox für Politik und Jugendkultur gegründete Online Community, die sich während der ersten zwei Jahre ihres Bestehens als größte und medienpräsenteste virtuelle Gemeinschaft Österreichs etablierte und… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Xenophilie — Die Xenophilie (von gr. xénos „Fremd“ und philía „Freundschaft“) bezeichnet eine persönliche oder kollektive Vorliebe für fremde, unbekannte Dinge und Menschen. Der Duden definiert xenophil als bildungssprachlich „allem Fremden, allen Fremden… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Néophobie — La néophobie (du grec neo = nouveau et phobein = craindre, éviter) est la peur de tout ce qui est nouveau ou inconnu. Son antonyme est néophilie. Ce terme apparaît principalement dans les études concernant  : Le comportement des animaux… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Список важнейших понятий трансгуманизма — …   Википедия

  • Love and Attraction — While this list might seem a bit risqué judging from its title, it s not as bad (or good) as you might think. Each of these 114 weird words contains the word element phil , from ancient Greek phileein to love, and so a philia is a special love,… …   Phrontistery dictionary


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