A certain wanna-be-president exclaims: ‘Make America great again’.
The call: ‘Make the world great again’ is hardly new and has been the rallying call by any number of prophets in the past because they understood our need for some mythic comfort in the face of unjust reality.
It is perhaps a bit of a paradox that humanity with a mix of pride and self-loathing tells the same story repeatedly, the story of a fallen present and a promise of a return to paradise lost, all the way from Hesiod [ca.700BC], Confucius’s Zhou dynasty, the Hindu Satya Yuga to the Garden of Eden, when we were God’s children, noble savages, or just were still respecting elders and all were happy and healthy, i.e. the good old days.
We can all get a bit nostalgic at times and yearn for an easier time, a happier time, a time when the sun always shone, or the world seemed a safer place.
We know, of course, that our memory of such times are dependant on our feelings, not our reason, and it has been thus for many a year.
Wishing ourselves back to that gentler time may seem just sentimental nostalgia, and in fact can be dangerous as it can create havoc not just as politics go [think Trump], but also in f.ex. medicine.
In the case of medicine the most important medical decisions are increasingly based NOT on your feelings of how ill or well you are, not even on informed predictions of your doctor, but on the calculations of computers who know you better than you know yourself. Think of DNA tests determining your likelihood of getting f.ex. breast cancer if you carry a particularly dangerous mutation of a gene and what the probability of you developing the cancer is. Even if you do not have cancer the determination may lead you do what Angelina Jolie did to pre-empt the disease.
I remember the bologna of my childhood,
And the bread that we cut with a knife,
When the children helped with the housework,
And the men went to work not the wife.