Neophile or Neophiliac is a term used by counter-culture 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 1969 book The Neophiliacs. Neophiles or 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, etcetera.
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.