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Can nostalgia translate to digital or will it cease to exist?

We must be careful about the new technologies and learn to live with them

By Jacobo Azcona


Photo courtesy by publicdomainpictures


There are few things in our adult life that don’t quite shine like they did when we were kids. I often wonder where this excitement goes to as we grow older. This constant feeling of nostalgia – which I believe is universal – should be mentioned in the terms and conditions of the life contract that we all signed. It’s not like I would have done anything different if I had known. But maybe I would have stalled for a bit longer to really savor the moment. I would have rolled in the grass a little bit more. I would have watched that TV show another night. I would have exchanged football cards with friends. These are irreplaceable experiences that will never feel the same.

This constant feeling of nostalgia – which I believe is universal – should be mentioned in the terms and conditions of the life contract that we all signed

Now that everything is going virtual, it’s important to consider this. How does nostalgia translate to digital? We might be seeing actual instances of a “metaverse” over the next decades; a virtual game-like landscape, in which we can interact in so many ways that we could only imagine doing in reality (ideally). What if there was no such thing as nostalgia in this controlled mock of a world? What if that would just be “remembering” or “re-experiencing”? Would people actually go there to satisfy the urge to relive a good memory? Would that blossom into a new type of neuro-cognitive dependence? Even though these questions seem a bit out of reach, they are still important. And they will continue to be important as time goes on.

Now that everything is going virtual, it’s important to consider this. How does nostalgia translate to digital?

Personally, I could not think of a worse way for humanity to go down. As we get to realize these problems, we see how sad and fragile our reality is. That a feeling as mundane as nostalgia can suddenly cease to exist. Maybe nostalgia doesn’t display the problem clearly, since it doesn’t have too much of an ethical weight. But as technologies take a bigger role in our lives, we must keep an eye out. And what would happen in the worst-case scenario? Where we practically lose so many facets of what we can call “the human experience” that we can’t call it “human” anymore. Will we transcend? And is that even that bad? It could be the next logical step for us as a species.

As we get to realize these problems, we see how sad and fragile our reality is. That a feeling as mundane as nostalgia can suddenly cease to exist

Apologies for such a seemingly random rant. But I promise these questions are connected. The new generations are growing up in a world where complicated technologies such as crypto or AI (that pretty much seem like magic to the older generations) are taking the spotlight. The danger is that, because of the constant exposure to them, kids think that we can trust them. We must take initiatives to guarantee that these concerns are always looked after. But most importantly, we must have an open-minded spirit, since we know far too little about these technologies to limit what we can use them for. Or rather, how they can help us.

We need to learn how to coexist with them, without losing our humanity.


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