Nostalgia

In a recent article in The Daily Mail, entitled “Forget the Age of Plenty, We Were Happier in the 1700’s” (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3756368/Forget-age-plenty-happier-1700s-Briton-s-content-life-era-slums-gin-mothers-workhouses-today.html), it is reported that research shows the 18th century was the period in which people were happiest, despite the grinding poverty in which much of the population lived.
The above article reminded me of a comment made by a reviewer of my collection of poetry “Lost in the Labyrinth of My Mind” that “ There is a feeling of nostalgia in some poems, e.g. “Modernity”, (https://emmalee1.wordpress.com/2016/05/11/lost-in-the-labyrinth-of-my-mind-k-morris/). The poem is reproduced below in order that my readers may judge for themselves:

“Give me something real

Not this plastic I feel.

Give me books in cloth boards

That I may not be bored.

Give me a chime

To measure time.

Give me solid wood

To caress and love.

Give me objects that last

A link to the past.

The world moves fast

Vast

Nothingness beccons.

Enumerable seconds

engaged

In rage

Against the gleam

Of the machine

That haunts my dream”.

(For “Modernity” and the other poems in “Lost in The Labyrinth of My Mind” please visit http://moyhill.com/lost/.

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5 thoughts on “Nostalgia

    1. drewdog2060drewdog2060 Post author

      As you say, the article is confusing. On the one hand it says we were happier in the 1700’s while on the other, it states that child mortality is one of the major causes of unhappiness. Given that child deaths where rampant in the UK until comparatively recently, one would have thought that the demise of large numbers of children would be a factor spreading unhappiness. However child deaths where (arguably) more accepted in the past due to the feeling that little could be done to prevent them given the state of medical knowledge etc. The widespread belief in religion may also have helped to console bereaved parents. One would, I think need to read the original research to make full sense of the article. Thanks for your comment. Kevin

      Reply
      1. Mick Canning

        Yes, I agree that child deaths were more accepted, and religion may have played its part in consoling the bereaved, but what i found confusing was that there was absolutely nothing in the article to back up the headline assertion – in fact, it seemed to contradict it. I would almost suspect it was a spoof, except that I suspect that the owners and editors of the Daily Mail really do believe that life was better back then!

      2. drewdog2060drewdog2060 Post author

        I have tried Googling the research but but without success. It would have been helpful had the Daily Mail linked to the study in question. There is, as you imply a tendency inherent in some to romanticise the past, gazing back through rose tinted spectacles. There is, however another tendency which dismisses the past and blindly marches forward towards “progress”. I believe both ways of looking at the past are wrong. We can learn from history (good and bad) but we can not live in the past.

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