The idea of nostalgia is something that has been ingrained in our culture for many years. We seek to remember what was once great. Lately, it’s been remakes of movies, video games, and more. World of Warcraft: Classic is coming out on August 27. Live-action adaptations of Aladdin and The Lion King are going to hit the big screen this year. But this yearning for nostalgia and the past raises serious concerns.
As someone who lived in the past and constantly reflected on how I handled things over a decade ago, I learned how unhealthy that sort of behavior was. One of those people from my past is also a writer (and, somehow, a teacher). While I may not have handled the situation in the best way, I realized something. People change and grow (or at least I hope they do). However, it seems that lately, we all have this obsession and fascination with returning to the past.
Past behavior is a predictor of future behavior (at least if you take psychology, you’ll know this). But the race to the past has been accelerating in the past few years. I’m not talking about remaking old movies or video games either, I’m talking about stuff like bringing back coal or the “good old days” where racism was acceptable and socialism was (and still is) poorly understood. I’m talking about clinging to technology nearly everyone has scrapped over a decade ago. I’m talking about people denying science (anti-vaxxers and flat Earthers) who want to reverse decades and centuries of scientific progress. Why not just fight wars with medieval weapons? Why not bring back Blockbuster Video? Why not travel everywhere by horse and carriage, or sailboat?
President Donald Trump talked about bringing back coal numerous times throughout his campaign and presidency. He denies that climate change is happening. Several states are trying to reverse a court decision made almost 50 years ago that made major changes to women’s health (aka, people not needing to use coat hangers as a method of birth control).
On the flip side of the political coin, Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez want to make post offices offer banking services. While this is a good idea in theory, it is largely unnecessary to have additional physical locations for banks. Countries in Africa, who have a fraction of our wealth and a fraction of the infrastructure we have in the United States, are largely using mobile banking services, negating the need for physical locations (thus, saving money on rent, utilities, and manpower). The expansion of technology is important for us to progress in the future.
As a technology journalist, I am always enthusiastic about new technologies. I used PayPal back in 2007, back when we were using “dumb phones” like the Sprint Rumor. One of my major gripes with the “race to the past” is that we are still clinging on to outdated technology. I have had to use a fax machine just to apply for healthcare. Someone wanted me to order checks and then mail them a check (until I told them that the process would ultimately take longer than if I just had a routing number and account number, which, once again, takes a fraction of the time). I had never had to order checks in my entire adult life, and my parents stopped using written checks around 2009.
Why is there such a race to live in the past? Why are we trying to one-up one another in this category? Let me know your thoughts below.