False nostalgia


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Realism about the past does not entail whitewashing the present. None of this is to deny the unique threat posed by nuclear bombs, the monstrosity of ongoing genocides, the dying species on our increasingly fragile planet, the calamitous backwards steps we are taking and will surely take in our collective lurch towards truth and justice. Rather, realism recognises that the hard work of progress demands we confront reality in all its complexity, instead of seeking solace in nostalgic fantasy. The good old days are a powerful comfort, especially when the changes wrought by technology and globalisation threaten your core identity. Like one’s childhood home, golden age myths can be difficult to leave behind. Perhaps it will be easier to let go knowing that the sooner we do, the sooner a real golden age may come to pass.

The complete article

Aeon — Alan Jay Levinovitz

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