We live in the age of nostalgia

I once read a rather cynical take on where all the extra-terrestrials are. The author – I can’t remember who it was – said that eventually every civilization invents its own alien version of the internet and massively multiplayer online role-playing games, and that thereafter they pull their heads so far up their fundements, that they never find their way back out.

I recently caught myself in a funk of nostalgia. It has become so easy these days. One quick hop over to the Internet Archive, or Grooveshark, or Wikipedia, and you’re effectively living in any old era you wish. Drawing myself away from 80’s television (seriously, it wasn’t any better back then either) required soul searching – and a trip to the Long Now Foundation’s website, and an excellent article by Michael Chabon that is posted there. I came close though. The result wouldn’t have sounded pretty.

The truth of the matter is that a perfect digital memory makes it so much easier to review the past than to create the future. Why do anything if you can just review the photo album from back when you used to do things?

I have this habit – which has driven any number of people crazy in the past – of refusing to take a camera along on journeys. I prefer my imperfect memory of the occasion. It frees me to continue onwards. I’m not stopping at least until I have my Hover Bike. Or a condo on the Moon. Or whatever.