While nostalgia can feel harmless, it does cause harm to our companies, ourselves, and the media we consume. Excessive focus on a “better” past means we can’t step into the future.

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Things were better once

We all succumb to the uncanny feeling that once somewhere in the past stuff was better. We’re wrenched from the present into an idealized past1 where cherubs floated around playing harps and we all ate Philidelphia cream cheese.

But nostalgia is also a dangerous force. We can see it in Christian fundamentalists longing for the day when they ruled the roost as they battle to reduce women’s rights and repeal the right to exist for anyone that makes them feel uncomfortable. In the current world they feel their opportunities are gone2 and they start grasping at straws to try and regain some semblance of superiority over others.

The Ship of Theseus that is media

A longing for the past, and past profits, is also seen in the continued reboots of all our media properties3. We get revamped actors in old properties, with some fan service appearance from the “old” actor. Bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd keep the name, but contain none of the original members, yet we continue to view it as a cohesive unit that fans will show up and support.

Media corporations do this to keep profits high as any recycled property has a partial fan base built in. They’re assured of some part of the consumerist culture feeding their media machine. It’s a bigger risk to generate a new media property than to add an instalment to an already known property, or to make a movie version of a book4.

Growth, growth, more growth

Finally our economic system focuses on continual zombie like existence and growth for every company all the time5. It’s not good enough to make millions of dollars in profit, you must also hit some analyst prediction of how much more money you’ll make in profit. If you aren’t growing, you must be dead, even if you have that healthy profit coming in and can pay all your bills, the stock market will devalue your stock because you’re not making an ever growing portion of profit yearly.

In many other systems unchecked growth is called cancer and it’s considered harmful. We excise that growth to save the rest of the person, which is maybe the stand we should take on the unchecked capitalist growth model we have today.

  1. Foreverism Pg 6 ↩︎
  2. A look at how reduction in opportunity reduces the scope of what we’re willing to accept is a future topic ↩︎
  3. Foreverism Pg 28, 29 ↩︎
  4. This is similar to the Treatment Trap seen in Dark PR Pg 63 ↩︎
  5. Foreverism Pg 51 ↩︎

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