© 2013 Raymond Alexander Kukkee
N is for Nostalgia. The good old days. Times past. ” Back in the old days we…”
How many times have you reflected, remembered better days, happier times? Nostalgia offers the poignant remembrance that social values appear to have changed. “Society is different. Civilization and humanity itself has somehow changed.”
Changed for the Better? Is It Changed at All?
Today it is easy to sit back in sorrow, listening to tragic events unwinding in appalling news, -and dwell in the confines of nostalgia. It is easy to conclude that yes, life seemed better ‘in the old days’, life was ‘safer’, and more ‘family-oriented’. People seemed more kind and more helpful to one another, society seemed gentler. White picket fences. Mom & Pop corner stores. Happy children. Afternoon matinees with popcorn and a soda at the ice cream shop. The illusion of ‘the good life’ lived on happily-perhaps dangerously and naively so. World War II was finished and life was ‘peaceful’. Is nostalgia itself deceiving us?
Yes, Nostalgia is Easy-But It is also Easy to be Disillusioned and Wrong.
Life was easy and better then. Easy right into into Korea. Vietnam. Somalia. Easing right into Bosnia, the Gulf Wars, 9/11, terrorism, Iraq. Afghanistan. Close your eyes, ignore reality, flash forward, to better times and let’s just skip those endless, terrible events. ‘Life’s better now.” Right.
In today’s world Iran is threatening peace in the Middle East, secular unrest everywhere is rampant and unpredictable, and North Korea’s bluster is threatening nuclear annihilation of the USA.
Horrific terrorist acts by fanatics with their own deadly agenda, like yesterday’s insanity of bombing of innocents at the Boston Marathon Bombing, madmen shooting children at Sandy Hook, and Columbine, –and endless other venues keep happening. It is incredibly sad to hear of beloved, 8-year-old children being victims of fanatic terrorists in any venue. Death, mayhem and destruction today may suddenly make the past appear more peaceful, –but in reality it was not.
These cowardly and inexcusable incidents and attacks upon the innocent are unbelievably sad, terribly tragic to families of those lost, maimed and injured–and frightening to the ever more wary, scared, and nervous public. Our hearts and prayers go out to our American neighbours. These incidents will never be forgotten-they are printed indelibly on the minds of children and adults alike–worldwide, all of humanity. Senseless acts such as these, regardless of venue and detail, are rooted in evil and madness.
We poignantly wish to somehow distance our minds from the pain and evil of today, and slip into nostalgia, the “perfect peace of older times”. We willingly disillusion ourselves.
If one questions the reality that is the imaginary past –so easily contrived with the art of nostalgia –was civilization any better? No.
Is this time in history really changed for the ‘better’ –or worse –if at all ? No.
We think not. The same elements of collective human insanity exist. Genocide, murder, war, bombings, rape, and the warmonger’s disruption of peace. The venues may change but the foolishness, violence and insanity of humanity does not.
The same insatiable greed, stupidity, and foolishness exists. Social problems continue to receive the same unacceptable lip service. The same brutality, animalistic behaviour, pervasive hate and racism are ‘alive and well’. Wars and mind-chilling rumors of the ultimate war persist. The grip of perpetual and progressively worse fear is endlessly encouraged to invade the psyche, encouraging the belief that the events of today are somehow so much worse than the past. Instil more fear.
Frightened people are easier to control by power-hungry governments. There is nothing new under the sun. We must come to understand . Only the names of the victims change. A quantum leap in the way society thinks and develops is required.
As an aside, it seems to me that one fact of nostalgia itself remains constant. In reality, the victims of nostalgia are all of us. Collectively. That is why N is for nostalgia.
Is that Incoming I hear/
Photo credit: Briton Riviere: ‘The old gardener’ Wikimedia commons