Monday, January 22, 2007

Tradition vs. Innovation


Every now & again, I tune in to what's happening on various NGE listservs and groups to get an idea what people within the nation are thinking & saying. After watching a number of conversations go back & forth regarding some controversial topics (those of you that know, know), I decided to write on the topic of tradition vs. innovation. This topic is in no way limited to members of the NGE, and in fact I build that those of us who are looking to be part of the solution for humanity's issues can add on to what i'm thinking.

In every group, sect, culture, religion, or way of thinking, there will eventually come a time where the members of that community have to discuss and come to some form of understanding regarding this issue in order to chart a path for it's collective growth & development. Now, before it seems like I'm veering off into intellectual wonderland, let me give you some tangible examples: Much of the underlying tension that exists in HH today is a result of the debate, with those who think that HH should remain as it was in the 80's & early 90's on one side, and those who see HH as an ever-changing and ever-developing art form and Culture on the other side.

Another example is leadership within the Black community. Some think it appropos to continue fighting for Black people in the vein of 1960's - style civil rights protest & advocacy, while others see the primary issue as economics and argue that new tactics are needed. Additionally, you could include the debate on tradition & innovation within the Black Church (e.g. Kirk Franklin & the fusing of "Holy" & "Secular" music). Below, please find some of my views on the debate:

- If one errs on the side of tradition, cultural progress can grind to a halt; Err on the side of innovation, and context for the original idea can be lost

- From my view point, one must be well-versed in tradition in order to propose innovation so that the impetus for change isn't grounded in cynicism or iconoclasm

- Most of what we know as tradition today was innovation at some point, so it would be wise for us to always be open to growth

- People who live on the fringes of either side are probably missing the big picture. Life is a mix of the two, and if evaluated and executed properly, the two will propel your idea to new heights.

1 comment:

U-Supreme said...

God Bless.Your on point with everything you stated.Although sometimes I feel that the only ones who are reading this and able to respond aren't the ones who need to be educated.Tradition vs innovation are the different polaritys of the same substance,the yin and yang.The key to life is the balance,the understanding of the two,as you and I both know.Change(innovation)is inevitable.For change to be healty it must be deep rooted in the fundamentals(tradition/knowledge).Peace