I’m quite sure I’m not the first person to think this, but I recently came across this text, and it reminded me how much people living hundreds of years ago are still just people:
“Zeal to promote the common good, whether it be by devising anything ourselves, or revising that which hath been laboured by others, deserveth certainly much respect and esteem, but yet findeth but cold entertainment in the world.
It is welcomed with suspicion instead of love, and with emulation instead of thanks: and if there be any hole left for cavil to enter, (and cavil, if it do not find a hole, will make one) it is sure to be misconstrued, and in danger to be condemned. This will easily be granted by as many as know story, or have any experience.
For, was there ever any projected, that savoured any way of newness or renewing, but the same endured many a storm of gainsaying, or opposition?”
That quote is from the Translators’ Note to the Reader that prefaces the King James bible, published in 1611. The language is beautiful and sonorous, that’s why we’re still reading a 400 year old version, but it’s also a small reminder of how divisive the act of making an officially sanctioned translation was. In different words it might be the start of a conversation somewhere in the Silicon Roundabout about the difficulties of trying to make things that are genuinely new.
It also made me think of the mirrored s-curve of technological adaption (from Bruce Sterling’s 2005 book Shaping Things) – as applicable in the 17th century as it is today.