Paul Kingsnorth writes a defense of his frequent invocation of nostalgia.
Why am I writing about nostalgia? Because we are living in a time of obvious decline and fragmentation. All of my essays so far in this series have tracked between three intertwined phenomena which together make up that decline: the cultural disintegration of the West; the ongoing degradation of nature; and the rise of revolutionary technologies, especially in the digital sphere. Taken together, this adds up to an age of revolution. This is a time in which nothing, from received culture to the climate of the planet itself, can be counted on to remain stable. Disintegrative forces are pulling at everything from all angles. Sometimes it feels like living in the heart of a whirlwind. It is only going to get fiercer.
I also find myself gravitating towards nostalgia these days. It gets increasingly harder to read the news, have awareness for the ways that the world we live in is profoundly disordered, and not feel the need to look back for answers. Like Kingsnorth, I fear the whirlwind will only get fiercer.
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