V&E Words: New

In the post on V&E Words: Renewal  I discovered that the prefix RE- means “again”. Inspired by fellow blogger Que Fenomeno post called Coin-a-Concept (excerpt to follow) I want to look at the word NEW and the influence the concept of “newness” has over our worldview.

Definitions of New

Adjective: descriptive

a) What has not previously existed, differs from what existed in the past

b) Not previously existing; now made or brought into existence for the first time.

c) Of a kind now first invented or introduced; novel, newfangled; original

d) Coming as a resumption or repetition of some previous act or thing; starting afresh, resurgent.

Verb:  active

To renew, make new; to regenerate, revive, restore


The descriptive NEW is the new from nothing. The active implies renewal of something.

If New the adjective source is from nothing, it is original, it must come from the void.

New is a true creation the appearance of something that was once nothing.  And in this case, to say renewal is to say that again, something has been created from nothing.



However, if we take the definition of new as a verb then renewal is again-re-new.

Again- again something again. There is a rhythmic quality to the repetition and a sense of circulating movement. Of looping around and around, of always becoming again-New.

In either case, both lead to a circular sense of renewal, that in fact new is not separate from new-again, within our language. The words we use cannot conceive of something without it having been something before because even when it is from nothing or source, that source is something.

If you are sufficiently dizzy, let’s switch gears… The Newness Hypothesis is one way new is enacted in our culture and society. I’m only sharing this idea briefly because I will be writing on this idea further in future posts.

The Newness Hypothesis

The Newness Hypothesis (n.) The theoretical tendency to overestimate or insist on the ‘newness’ or novelty of economic, social, and political phenomena, especially with regard to the transformations characteristic of neoliberalism (hard emphasis on the neo). This hypothesis posits a radical break from earlier forms of governance and, if such a topic is broached at all, […]

via Coin-a-Concept — Que Fenomeno

Based on my Response to this post:

I have been thinking about the word “new” a lot lately. It began with my discomfort with the term “new age” being applied to some ideas that are older than the written record itself.

There is nothing “new” about “new age” ideas.

My mom is an RN and she is constantly reading “new” reports and studies for her work. She has expressed frustration with the idea as well because what she is reading isn’t new at all, “this isn’t new! we’ve known this for years.” 

While I agree that in her view the ideas are not new they are also not the same. Every time an idea is ‘brought back’ it is renewed, configured in a different way. The originality comes from a concepts situation in space and time.

A renewed idea comes back and is placed in a context that is new to the idea itself, not to us. We do not experience newness, we experience the idea in a new context.  

But having new information seems to fuel industry, and it becomes addictive for consumers.

The idea that something has appeared to us that was once concealed gives us the feeling of accomplishment and progression. 

I wouldn’t say that all of what we deem ‘new’ is old or more of the same but I wonder if there might be a more honest word.

What would happen if we started referring to ideas and concepts as renewed instead of new?

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