“We walk backwards into the future”
— Marshall Mcluhan
Smell is the big one.
When I smell fresh cut grass, I’m taken back to the front lawn of my grandparents cottage at the lake. From there, it’s easy to feel the wind blowing off the water. Here the sound as it ripples through the trees.
The other details follow in earnest. It’s that first seed in the mind that opens the door for the rest.
Why do I smell grass and think of a place I haven’t been in years?
Cows like grass. They ruminate, regurgitating what they’ve already swallowed to chew later.
Humans do this too, except we do it with memories.
For cows, rumination is how they chew their food. We don’t do it for sustenance. For us, it’s more like a stick of gum.
Chewing on your thoughts has left you hunched over in pain, consumed with regret. And all you will have done is take a shower.
An unspoken truth of nostalgia, is not all of it is comforting.
Is it useful?
Our firm embrace of nostalgia is prevalent in our screens.
My childhood screen was bigger. The box that supported it weighed much more. It had colour, unlike previous generations, and it had a schedule.
Cartoons came out at 6 on Saturday mornings.
Sports came on after school.
The raunchy stuff was on later, and it was always shit in the daytime.
I don’t want to see the same shows over again.
I do understand why everyone wants to watch them now.
Because we’ve grown. Because are past isn’t who we are, it’s where we started. It’s nice to go back and reminisce.
To share that.
This is self indulgent, I’m aware.
Marshall Mcluhan said, “We walk backwards into the future”. Our attention is focused on what has passed us by.
It is our comfort zone.
Mcluhan acknowledged there are those brave enough to face the future.
These are the innovators. The industrialists. The inventors. Visionaries, choosing the path we take forward.
“Don’t look back, you aren't going that way” — Ragnar Lothbrok (Vikings)
The rest of us have cottage lawns to think of.
There is power in that.
We may be breaking new ground, or treading on old soil. We won’t know for sure if we don’t look back.
at the same time.
Make use of nostalgia how you will.
Just don’t be like Hollywood.
Don’t overestimate its value.