Nostalgia and contempt

Once upon a time. In the good old days.

People want to believe that in the past things were better. Simpler. Easier. Nicer.

As far as we can tell, they always have. We’ve only had writing for about 50 centuries – but writing just records the eras in which the remotest ancestors of recorded history felt nostalgic for the good old days. The human capacity for nostalgia seems eternal.

“The youth of today…”

There is literally no period of time, as far as one can tell, where people haven’t felt that the next generation is declining.

Factually, one can point to changes for the worse (as well as for the better). And in all cases this will depend where you stand – how rich you are, how white you are, what country you live in, what your gender or sexual orientation or disability is.

But the belief universally held by all the generations of humanity that the next generation isn’t nearly as capable or as moral or as smart or as accomplished as we are – for any given value of “we”?

Well, that just seems to be humanity’s favourite psychosis.


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