“Pah!” retorts one. “This new-fangled gadgetry will be the demise of our civilization!”
“Luddite!” retorts another. “Humankind can only move forward and never wallow in the past!”
I understand both lines of thought but I believe there is a happy medium. While I struggle with society’s idea that owning a smartphone is necessary (I don’t believe it is), I also very much embrace my laptop and compressor ice cream maker.
Nostalgia can be looking back into the past with blinders. It’s easy to see, say, exotic postcards from the south seas in the 50s and forget about commercial colonization and racism.
But I believe there is beauty in old things and ephemera will always hold a dear place in my heart. Worn records, a dress from the 1930s, perfectly preserved can labels of a product that hasn’t seen the shelves in 60 years – these are all things that make me smile and trigger the creative side of my brain.
Old technology can still have a purpose in our modern world. Even as I pop a USB drive into my parent’s huge television and show them my latest travel pictures, I will take some super 8 footage of the local carnival and know in all likelihood the super 8 film will probably survive past the jpegs. Why? Because film has proven itself to be a long-lasting medium; it will survive over 100 years in a box in your closet. Remember your first word processing software? Try reading those files now… I bet it’s impossible!
And let’s not forget: whatever is here today will be gone tomorrow. Technology that we currently embrace will be replaced in a year or a decade. Even this most technologically with-it person may find themselves missing the subtle differences of “the previous version” or even waxing nostalgic about an obsolete model.
So let’s let ourselves find beauty, comfort and amusement in art and technology that might not be up-to-date or modern. They are the basis of things we hold dear this year, and they could be the basis of things not yet invented.