Why is the past a fetish of our mindset?
It is not strange to today's ears that the most enthusiastic speeches - and also the most applauded - are precisely those that cast an anchor on the past. When we said “make America great AGAIN”, for example, we assumed a narrative that guaranteed the comfort of a glorious and sadly lost past. When we say that we live in an era of “post-truth”, we assume that, at some point, there was an “era of truth”. Across the planet, religions tend to propose a vision of current doom in the face of the glorious and devout past - and they have been saying it since the past. In criticizing and praising the present, our tendency is not only to seek a referential base in the past, but to glorify any type of narrative (mostly fictional) from times gone by and, by its own fiction and level of affective connection with the fictional narrative proposed by the speech, unappealable for a more critical analysis and without passions.
The "exaltation of the past" is not just a rhetorical tool for big names like Goebbels. When the Nazi propaganda minister created a whole narrative apparatus to worship a supposedly glorious Germanic past, creating his own cosmogony, a genetic seal and a heroic mythology, he was brilliant in the eyes of most Germans. However, at the same time and there very close, Mussolini came to speak enthusiastically about how he would not bow to the Germans, a people who - according to him - were just a bunch of barbarians when the glorious time of the Caesars illuminated the centuries in Rome emperial times. Notice, both Goebbels and Mussolini used the ssame tool for different and anthagonic (when they were no longer such friends) purposes.
But it don't stop there: you've probably used this tool either.. And your parents before you.
"Well, back in the days..." - a phrase used not only to say that today and yesterday are different, but to assume a greater quality of the past.
Every day there is a distrust of everything that is new or of any kind of change and this resistance is part of the industrial mentality.
You see, in a linear and predictable mentality, there is no greater certainty than the deep fear of the unknown, uncertain and non-linear - better known as the future. No greater certainty than fearing chaos.
But future is caos.
As it is unknown, it is therefore chaotic and frightening. As a society with an industrial mentality, we are still unable to look to the future with the acceptance it lacks to become an intrinsic part of our own mentality and, therefore, we have a habit of seeking shelters in the past.
Especially in times of a more pronounced and evident rupture, such as the one we are currently experiencing.
Whenever there is a crisis in the present, the tendency is to remember how much better some "before" was - as if it really had been, it would have had to change - at this point is also important to emphasize that although there is no proof that the past was better in any way, there is also no evidence that the future will be. The difference is that although the past can be passionately charming and comforting, the only certainty that exists is that of a future: the past does not return. Even the attempt to reproduce any past will be nothing more than a future. We seek the past because when we are somehow lost, we are not programmed to seek solutions at first, solutions are difficult, they take time and energy and our organism is not a big fan of it, biologically speaking. On the contrary, we seek comfort. Within the industrial mentality, comfort lives in the area of the known under a false veneer of common sense and veracity, but it is anything but a solution.
For example: there is a huge movement today of what can be understood as “extreme right” not in all governments, but in the desires of populations of a huge part of the western countries, in a world where a more moderate and hegemonic leftwing "ruled" for years, and of course has demonstrated severe failures . When there are failures on the left, we have to resort to the right, when there are failures in capitalism, we have to resort to communism. And so we go: not in the sense of solving failures, but always looking to use other systems under the pretext of comfort. The way we found to validate these immediate escapes that we propose is to point out some past as an inspirational alternative.
With each “round”, the same system that once failed is presented as the infallible solution this time, and although none is, within the industrial mentality, a tool has not yet failed even once: fthe etishism with the past.
We hope for the world of digital mentality that it can establish itself in opposition to this resource: why can't we propose refuges in the future? Or why there must be refuges? Of course, reguges in the future, they first need to be thought out and then executed. It requires time, energy, resources. and a bit of courage.
The past, although paradoxically less attainable than the future, is ready.
Fear will always be greater than acceptance - the industrial mindset does not require a solution, it requires comfort, and if the future can solve it, only the past comforts it.