I’ve always been skeptical of nostalgia.
It feels to me like surrender to the idea that it’ll never be better than it was.
Fuck that. We should be doing stuff today that we can be nostalgic about tomorrow.
But only for a second.
It’s fine to pause by yourself, or with friends, and say:
Remember that time when we all packed into the car and went to the aracde, and then saw Terminator 2, and then got those burgers? (dreamy looks) …that was so great…
That’s great. It’s nice to enjoy moments more than once, and to appreciate the past. But when that moment starts lasting too long, it can quickly become a lifetime.
I loved Ready Player 1, by the way.
I’m reading Ready Player 2 right now, which is the follow up to Ready Player 1, which was basically a nostalgic trivia orgy, with a story to keep it stitched together.
And the one thing that I keep thinking is, why are we doubling down on the nostalgia and the trivia about the past? I mean, one explanation is just money. I’m sure Spielberg and co. would love to have another hit on their hands. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Sequels are super popular right now.
But I think that’s part of the problem. Sequels are so popular because we’re lacking the imagination to create new things.
If the 1980’s had that mentality we’d never have all the cool stuff that Cline is writing about. Imagine if the 80’s were nothing but 60’s nostalgia. That would not be worthy of nostalgia itself.
And that’s the point. Only original content deserves nostalgia.
If you get too stuck remembering the past you’ll never put in the effort to create the future.
I know lots of people from high school who literally talk about nothing but high school and the late 80’s. They only like old music from that time. They can’t enjoy new bands or types of music. Everything is compared to their tiny slice of magical time when they were kids.
This is horribly depressing, and I’m getting the same vibe as I read Ready Player 2. Like it’s for people who just can’t let go and look to the future.
One book on the topic was brilliant. A second is either rote monetization or depressing, or both—even if the book is good.
Anyway, again, I’m not saying it’s not fun to reflect on magical times. By all means, take that moment to celebrate with the crew. Share the smiles.
But let that wonderful feeling wash over you and turn into the desire to create new memories together of the same quality.
Focus on the present. Focus on the future.
Don’t let nostalgia trap you in the past.