It occurred to me recently that all energy drinks, sodas, and dietary supplements we’re constantly cramming into our bodies are just the newest incarnation of an ancient idea. Tea.
This type of looping can be seen all over the place. The most obvious and fastest pace repetitions come in fashion. It’s 2013 and suddenly the 80’s are back in style.
Now I’m not meaning to point out how often old ideas are rehashed. Hell, if they weren’t a good idea to begin with they probably wouldn’t have caught on initially anyway. And any good idea is worth reexamining. But knowing that things repeat and that ideas often circulate back into fashion comes in really handy when you’re trying to write a story set in a time period different from your own.
For instance in a far-flung future sci fi, what do the characters drink? What’s the newest incarnation of Tea? If you want them to drink water all the time every time you’ve got to have a reason why. Humans get bored with the simple taste of water. Humans get bored with anything if exposed long enough. So if you want to change the cycle of tea, you have to have a reason. Not necessarily a big reason, but it has to be a persistent one. If you want the characters to only drink water, then perhaps it’s because in your universe all artificial flavors have proven to be poisonous. Or Maybe your sci-fi society is a very cut throat social climbing type society where poisons are painfully common and any flavors beyond water can cover up the taste and smell of poison, leaving the wary to drink nothing but water. Not a big reason, but it is a persistent one.