What will Future Generations be Nostalgic for?

No one can agree on the status of Earth in 50 years. Thousands of articles speculate, but “experts” are divided. Some say overpopulation and global warming will cause our destruction, others predict certain populations will decrease or die out. Some envision large scale nuclear war, others urge us to go forth and breed. Some say advances in medicine will wipe out disease, others say we’re all going to die from viruses, AIDS or starvation. Some say we will be communicating through chips imbedded in our bodies.

The commenters are just as virulent as ever, with about three quarters of them attacking people who try to express an opinion in a rational way. No article that I read had intelligent discussion, and almost every comment was nearly unreadable due to ignorance of basic language skills, excessive use of caps, and general internet abuse. It’s impossible to write an article on the future of the world without mentioning race in a scientific way, spawning openly racist comments such as “good, I hope they all die out, the world doesn’t need any more white people.” Many commenters blame the fat, gluttonous, greedy American public for the planet’s demise. Even the civil wars raging in other countries are somehow America’s fault. No one mentions that people have been killing and enslaving each other for 200,000 years, while America has only existed for a little over 200 years. Most Americans don’t leave vicious comments or any comments at all. So nobody hears us.

If you believe that Islam is a peaceful ‘religion’ with just a few fringe factions, why can’t America be granted the same indulgence? What about all the good people here—the animal rescue volunteers, the women’s shelter volunteers, the volunteer fire departments, EMTs, and ambulance drivers…the homeless shelters, food banks, countless charities, and billions in aid we send to countries who hate us? What about the Lions Club who picked up the $1500 tab for the hearing aid I helped an old lady get last year? The men and women who serve and die for our country, are they fat useless pigs too? The compassionate bloggers whose love of nature is evident in every post? The good kids who want to make a difference—the ones who don’t make the news? You don’t hear about them because they don’t commit crimes. Are each of us personally to blame for the ills of the world?

Picture of two deer taken this morning at a house I clean at the bottom of Carr Canyon in Coronado Nat’l Park, which was devastated by the Monument Fire last summer. This old woman puts alfalfa, seed, and water out for the many creatures displaced by the fire. What a GLUTTONOUS WHITE AMERICAN BITCH—WE NEED TO GET RID OF PEOPLE LIKE THIS!

I am nostalgic for the era I grew up in because it was a time of renaissance. Our home lives may have been difficult, but the world was open to us. Jobs were plentiful, travel was cheap, we explored the world through a windshield instead of an LCD screen. We were independent and never expected to be taken care of. We weren’t obese, brainwashed, or babied. We entered the world at a perfect time—we were neither burdened with our parents’ repression nor their economic depression. We left home early, anxious to embark upon adventures of our own. We figured out how to have sex and not get pregnant (thank you Planned Parenthood for keeping me both child-free and abortion-free for 30 years). We got on buses and trains and old clunkers and used maps and asked questions and took back roads. We got into trouble but learned from our mistakes.

Politics were more than a war between socialists and evangelicals. The millions of Americans who aren’t obsessed with abortion or gay marriage are not being represented—we just want our country back. The insanity of our political system and subsequent media slants are a big factor in our reputation as a nation of lunatics, and these overblown issues cause voters to make choices based not on what’s best for America, but on personal beliefs. Left or right, either way we’re all going to have more laws forced on us. Political correctness will worsen, it’s too late to go back now. I finally understand what “silent majority” means. It means us, working a couple jobs, paying our bills, trying to help our communities, and getting by the only way we know how. It’s the people who hardly have time to picket abortion clinics, write vicious comments, or spread their whiny filth through public parks across America.

I’m nostalgic for not having a computer and not being assaulted daily with every act of violence perpetrated in the world. But despite America being the planet’s designated scapegoat, and despite those who actually do fit the stereotype, most people I know would help you if you asked them. Though I witness disturbing activities where I live every day, I would not hesitate to go to any of my neighbors for help. Maybe I don’t want to hang out with them. Likely our politics and culture are a world apart. But who in America would slam the door in the face of a person in need?

We can’t know what will someday evoke nostalgia in the estimated 11,000 babies born each day in the US alone, much less the rest of the world. Will it be simple things like music, dancing, sports, their home town? Will it be grocery stores, libraries, parks? Or will it be something much more sober—sunshine, clean water, open space, fresh food, thinking for themselves, and freedom? Because the world will be different for them, too, and someday they will get old and look back just as we do. They’ll have their own regrets, but I imagine in essence they won’t be much different from ours. The blank vacuous lifestyle of a video game-addicted couch potato may surface later in life as an inability to adapt to the inevitable shifts we will continue to experience. A lack of curiosity about the world leads to stunted life skills no matter what age you live in. The resourceful, creative kids may find the means to survive no matter what is in store for them. In 50 years, each person may be completely on their own, a slave to a warlord, or forced to live under a government created while they weren’t paying attention.

Flexibility, resilience, and adaptability are all we have to keep us from collapsing into an abyss of despair or self-destruction as we reminisce about the past, but those aren’t easy traits to sustain. Most of us are just trying to cope, encumbered with a collective guilt we don’t deserve. But one thing I am certain of—if we choose to see ourselves as victims, we may well be granted that wish.

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41 responses to “What will Future Generations be Nostalgic for?

  1. OCCUPY RV’S !!!!! May be the final solution.

    • Hi Russ, sounds good. I’m sure they already have the technology to heat, cool, and motor a country on a microchip, no oil needed. Imagine traveling in your RV for free, now that would be something to look forward to.

    • 1.Human Interaction perhaps
      2.Walks along the beach, park, etc. Maybe in 100 years or more, the air will be so polluted, that people will be confined to living indoors.
      3. Libraries and bookstores
      4. Caring Teachers (More and more lawsuits seem to be reducing the relationships between teachers and students, in the future, teachers will be robots, or maybe all kids will be doing on-line school)
      5. Freedom. Again, lawsuits, global warming, technology, copy writing, all these things will add up eventually and future generations won’t be allowed to sing a song with a friend out loud in their backyards without paying a fee, or walk around in a park if they don’t have kids because they might be pedophiles, all these laws are getting ridiculous
      6. Marriage/Weddings. In the future, the idea of marriage might be seen as ridiculous to some, but there will the few who would love to go back in time to get married.

      • Hi Marina,

        Libraries and bookstores are already on their way out, and I miss them. I agree that teachers are losing what little authority they have in fear of lawsuits. I went to a Catholic school for a while and man those nuns took NO shit at all, bless their hearts—and neither did teachers in public schools. Now the teachers fear the kids, the parents, the school board. At the Catholic school we had to wear a uniform and there were no boys—two of the best incentives for concentrating on learning I can think of.

        I don’t know about marriage, most don’t last more than a few years at best. It’s all about the attention, the spectacle, the cost these days. I’m not married and don’t care about it, and can’t understand why it’s such a big issue. Do we really need government validation to partner up?

        To sum it up, good people get shit on, bad people have more freedom to do as they please. I don’t know who you are but thanks for writing and for your thoughtful comments.

        Debra

  2. Debra, you continue to hit the nail on the head with your comments….I could not agree more….

    • Hi Alan, thank you. This is not paranoia, it’s common sense. This political system we have here can’t continue or we’ll find out first-hand what civil war is.

      • Debra,
        I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and he has the answers to the problems of the world… I have read your thoughts on this and know you do not share the same sentiments…..However if you have never read the Bible (KJV) from Genesis to Revelations may I suggest you do so….It is some interesting reading .. You will not be disappointed.

        If you have read it at some time earlier, I still suggest re-reading it now and how relevant it has become to the current times….

        • I envy the religious but it’s not a choice. You either believe or you don’t. I could no more pray to Jesus than I could to Allah, and it doesn’t belong in politics. No matter which side wins, the other side will become more and more aggressive toward the other side. If everyone just kept their religious beliefs to themselves, most of the wars raging in the world would stop. Whatever comforts people embrace to them get them through the night is good and healthy. Forcing it on others is wrong—but more importantly, it doesn’t work.

  3. the very best thing I have read anywhere recently, Debra. I wish the world would find you and pay attention

    • Thank you Sue. I’m scared, I’ll bet a lot of people are. Or should be. How I wish Americans would put their emotions aside and do what’s best for the nation. We have so few choices and I struggle to understand why this is.

  4. Well Darlin……. in my opinion, I think nostalgia may become more important for future generations. As the state of the world is right now, I believe a majority of people think back in time to when life was peaceful and enjoyable for them. However, I’m sure nostalgia will be just as individual as people are. The teenager today that’s growing up in this high tech world may find the gaming computers and smart phones as some of those things they will think of as being nostalgic.

    Although I may be a bit biased – I think horse loving cowboys and cowgirls will always consider a horse ride as one nostalgic incident that brings them the most pleasure. I think these are things that will never change……

    • Hi Cowboy, no one knows. I fear for all animals and don’t want to see any human or creature suffer. But as long as there are cowboys and horses, I guess they’ll stick together. It depends on where we go from here.

  5. Debra,
    A very thoughtful and powerful post. I am glad that you wrote this. Somebody sure needed to. I really enjoy reading your blog. Hang in there and hope for the best.
    Christopher

  6. Nostalgia is often remembering what never really was. Our memories trick us into recalling the good and forgetting what was not so good. Yes, growing up in our generation was free spirited if we let ourselves go in that direction. But we also grew up in a generation when blacks were still oppressed and treated like second class citizens, women were still kept in the background, and the rich, well I guess that hasn’t changed that much.

    As a younger fellow I was a politically charged individual. Eventually I realized that for me there were too many good causes to rally behind and I had to focus on just one. My choice of the cause is obvious who know and read my writing.

    I think that our country has a lot of good, and is also responsible for some serious transgressions, particularly in the area of taking other people’s resources, but that is another story. As far as our differences are concerned I believe we should all focus on what we have in common, finding our harmony, rather than focusing on the cacophony that we call discourse.

    One of your best written and most challenging essays, Debra. Your writing always gets me to thinking, and I thank you for that.

    • Hi Bill, but neither you nor I have committed any serious transgressions, and to attack white Americans as if they were the devil is just as wrong. Humans of all races have been plundering the earth from day one, but now I’m supposed to be ashamed of being the granddaughter of white European immigrants, who never asked anybody for anything and worked their asses off to give a better life to their children. The entitlements modern immigrants expect is simply astounding, along with the class of Americans who think the world owes them a living.

      Of course we should all focus on what we have in common—our country. But as the years go on I see this as an impossibility. It’s going to take more than an election to bring us together, it’s going to take something much bigger and more sinister. What that is remains to be seen, but I believe that Americans should try to heighten their sense of awareness that it can’t go on like this forever.

  7. You need a spot on the nightly news. I’m not trying to butter you up. I’m just trying to imagine words such as these on TV for all to see. I wouldn’t be the only one feeling this jolt of empowerment. Here’s to revolution!

  8. Great post, Deb! I think future generations will be nostalgic for – desktop computers (they’ll just have some super-device that only does what the manufacturer allows you to do). They won’t miss libraries (although I will) because they don’t know them as anything but underfunded public buildings for homeless people to hang out in – which is the direction they seem to be going in around here.
    They may miss the “openness” of the Net, and being to interact openly and freely like you and your commenters do here. I think it is only a matter of time before our every interaction online is parsed, sliced, diced, surveilled, and geo-located.

    • Hi Harry, there won’t be a library left in 50 years and the only people nostalgic for them will be dead. The Internet is both a blessing and a curse. If it weren’t for blogging I would have no place to vent, yet the Internet itself is the cause of many frustrations. I think we’re all being tracked already, but somehow crimes continue to be committed online from hackers to pedophiles. I just read today that Google is stepping up their “personalization” for each of us whether we want it or not, we have no choice. As I’ve ranted about many times, this isolates us further into delusional worlds where our beliefs are enforced rather than challenged.

      I hope people continue to write and create with their own minds. But maybe that’s even asking for too much—there may come a time when self-expression will be just one more freedom we will lose. Because freedom comes with a high price—the cost of those who believe it entitles them to do whatever they please, and we have the ACLU to protect those “rights.” Protestors who shit on police cars or the American flag would be the first ones to dial 911 if they needed help though.

  9. Why does it bother me?

    Great post Debra. I think people will look back on common sense. It is the thing that seems to be deserting people the most. I read / see / hear things and I am capable of coming to my own conclusions, but it certainly feels like I am one of only few!

    • When the Occupiers here in the US talk about the “99%” they are full of shit, because I believe that 99% of Americans are good people just trying to get by. Plus down here on the border illegal workers bring the pay level down, so I’m working for about half of what I made back east. People here are very, very cheap. If I moved to a big city I could make more but it would be more expensive to live. It’s a very fucked-up situation but neither side has rational answers. But goddamnit nobody goes hungry here no matter what the media says. There are a lot of people here who long for common-sense leadership but somehow the US became irreparably polarized and those are the people who get all the attention, and put people in office who feed into the madness.

  10. Oh how I would love to hear a great sucking sound now as all the Ostrich heads are pulled out of the sand to read your post. I admire and respect your opinions because they are basically mine as well. Mostly, I admire your courage to step up to the plate and realistically knock the ball out of the Park. Too many phony optimists and too many dowdy pessimists. Not enough realistic thinking people.to save the Planet I am afraid. I too support your thoughs on religion all the way. The greatest scam perpetuated on mankind by his fellow man the world has ever, or will ever see. There is little or no hope of that ever being resolved in a realistic way. Power, greed., and man’s desperate desire to believe in something, anything, dominates his sense of reason and common sense……..

    • Hi Al, optimists are people who don’t have all the facts, and pessimists are people who have given up. Those of us stuck in the middle are not being heard. The mess here didn’t happen overnight and there is no one person or party to blame. It’s the loudest groups of people who get people elected to serve their personal causes. Organizers who collect masses of people and drive them to the polls and tell them who to vote for—this is the kind of shit I can’t stand. I read that more people than ever before have registered as Independent because they can’t stand to be affiliated with either party.

      More than anything we need jobs here. We need to stop sending manufacturing and service jobs overseas. I can’t remember the last time I spoke to a customer-service representative whose heavy Indian accent I could understand. The rest of our products are made in China. The unions make impossible demands. Politicians pass more and more laws but none of them benefit regular people trying to survive here. Next thing is to bring our kids home from the Mideast and let the fanatics kill each other. Put our military to work defending our OWN borders. I know damn well there are alternatives to oil but the average American is not given a choice, so to call Americans “gluttonous pigs” is inaccurate and unfair.

  11. Wow. The last words in the second to last paragraph really got me. “forced to live under a government created while they weren’t paying attention.” That is exactly what we have here in the UK, which I am slowly beginning to think of as YUK! But, you can bet your ass we’re paying attention now. These bulldozing bastards want to ‘reform’ everything, but just end up making things worse. Having been offline during the past week, laid up with a really bad chest infection, I’ve only watched the televised news. Good grief, how did we ever get by with only the rags and this carefully controlled output media with which to find out what other people seem to feel is important. I am paying attention to your upcoming election though. If things are really going down the shithole, the world may have to look to President Mit (or is it Mitt?), to sort things out. Sorry for the politics, but I just think that’s funny. President Mit. 😉

    • Hi Dum Dum, the riots the UK had last year hit me hard, such violence and destruction. I happened to stumble across a photo of a dog who was caught in the middle of a rock-throwing mob and the image is forever planted in my mind. I don’t feel qualified to comment about other countries so I never did. I don’t really understand socialism except that if a government supports huge masses of people and then takes some of those services away, those supported become angry. With the entire world economy in shambles, I don’t see how socialism can work. Maybe you can explain how compromises can be made by those who want reform and those who receive the services, as I’m not well-informed on UK politics. What do the rioters want? They looked like young people, not disabled or sick. We hear the expression “on the dole” here in the US a lot—can you explain? Who are the bulk of the people on the dole? I believe sick, mentally ill, or otherwise disabled people should be helped by their government. I know the unemployment situation is bad but I and millions of other Americans somehow manage to get by doing whatever jobs we can find. There’s no such thing as a “dream job” anymore, that’s part of adapting to reality. I’m poor but got used to it a long time ago. I live a strictly no-frills lifestyle. I can’t imagine asking our government to pay my bills—can you give me (and my readers) some insight in UK politics?

  12. Ought to post a hard copy of this at the now pointless Occupy DC encampment.

  13. What will future generations be nostalgic for? I suspect the answer is “freedom”. So many people are willing to give it up, and so many now are intent on taking it – one day, it may be gone, and we’ll wonder why.

    One reason, of course, is that freedom implies responsibility – in fact, demands it. The expectation that each member of society will be responsible for his or her own actions seems unbearably quaint to far too many people.

    The people who have lived under dictatorship, through wars, in despair of attaining even the smallest freedoms, are warning us daily. But, as you suggest, many are unwilling to pay attention, unable to imagine that life could change, in the blink of an eye.

    • Thank you for your beautifully written and spot-on comment. Laws, laws, and more laws, but who are they really for? They’re not controlling criminals, they’re controlling the rest of us. What’s worse are the cultural laws. They abrade the morale of each of us to the point where we start to expect to be told what to do. Oh dear, can I say that, write that, can I speak honestly, can I do the right thing without being attacked? Hold on, I better check my PC handbook.

      We are so ripe to lose it all. Without jobs we are dying. If the government wants to make a law that will save us all, it would be that everything we need would have to be made here. No unions.

  14. Debra: I like your point that regardless of politics (in most cases) people will help another. I think that true. I’m not a big admirer of civic clubs, but I know what good they do (your Lion’s Club reference). What I miss now are two things of the past: the Mom and Pop corner grocery stores. There was Kirby’s, King’s, Ratliff’s and Leinwebber’s Stores within walking distance of my home when I was a boy. The second thing I miss is the quiet of a library — no computers, small talk. The smell of well-oiled library tables and chairs induced a sense of reflection and quiet. My apologies for my trip down memory lane….

    Great post.

    • Hi Jack, I miss those things too. Libraries, if you can find one that’s open, are now more like public cafeterias. Fear of telling someone to shut the hell up or get off their phone is now part of our culture.

  15. Just found your blog and you do have a gift of being able to cover all the bases and hit the ball out of the park! Very well said and congratulations! Maybe when things get really bad (hopefully they will not) people will lay their obsessions aside and realize abortion, gay rights and one’s religion or lack thereof are all personal issues and don’t belong in the political arena.
    Americans are good people. We need to continue to remember that. We have done nothing wrong. “Most of us are just trying to cope, encumbered with a collective guilt we don’t deserve. But one thing I am certain of—if we choose to see ourselves as victims, we may well be granted that wish.” The last 2 sentences were especially powerful. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    • Thank you Virginia. Yes we should try to raise our self-esteem as a nation. We’re continually beaten down by both our own politics and peoples of other nations. These oil wars are sickening yet they keep building houses with furnaces. Sometimes I think if there is life on other planets they are looking at us like we’re primitive. The news makes me physically sick but I keep reading it, it just gets worse and worse. But you, me, and millions of other Americans are not to blame. We trust our leaders and they fail us. Which leads us back to keeping these emotional issues out of politics, where they do more harm than good. Thanks for writing.

  16. So much common sense – I enjoyed your post!
    The biggest roadblock to a sane future is that it isn’t going to be easy to get there. Everyone is going to have to make sacrifices, and most people aren’t going to be willing to do that.

  17. Hi Margie, thank you. I think a lot of us are already making sacrifices and maybe many are tired of it, I don’t know. I’m definitely going to have to make sacrifices come election time, because none of these potential candidates are connecting with me. I hope things don’t get worse, but I fear they will. We’re extremely polarized now with no end in sight. I don’t see any real answers anywhere. Pretty depressing, huh.

  18. Flexibility, resilience, and adaptability, good words. Why do I forget them from time to time….in my case I might add, a good umbrella is im·per·a·tive. Shelter from the crap when it starts to fall.

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