In Defense of Nostalgia

“To believe in progress is not only to believe in the future: It is also to usher in the possibility that the past wasn’t all that. I now feel — and this is a revelation — that my past was an interesting and quite fallow period spent waiting for the Internet.”

This is my “favorite” sentence from this essay: “In Defense of Technology.” I read it because I’d hate to be one of those people who can’t even entertain any possible merits from a viewpoint they oppose.

And yet, while there is a case to made that our* lives are made “better” by time-saving apps, the production of iphones alone (never mind their use) rules them out as being considered a benefit to humankind—unless of course you’re pro- child slavery, let alone pro- destruction of our only habitat. The author of the piece mentions that he can now cut down on research time (going to the library? ew), as if more efficiently adding footnotes to a book more than merits the extinction of some 200 species a day. That research must be pretty damn important.

* By “our” I mean members of the First World; it’s hard to see how a teenage factory worker or a small-scale farmer gets to enjoy the perks of hand-held access to the internet, without even mentioning the incalculable destruction and misery it rains down upon non-humans.

Lest we forget—looking only at the sleekness and portability of an iphone—that the internet takes an entire oil-based infrastructure to produce and maintain. Or did you not know that there are miles of cables running at the bottom of the ocean?


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