I Believe in Embracing the Past

I believe in approaching technology with a retro state of mind. I enjoy playing my music on vinyl records. I drive an eighteen year old sports car. I love to play old video games. These choices are just a few of the ways I apply my retro mentality to daily life. Though some see my perspective as ill-considered, numerous circumstances have influenced my choice of a retro lifestyle.

One reason I chose to live this way is the large amount of technological change that has taken place in my lifetime. I have been around long enough to watch the world move from analog to digital in most of its technology. New cars with manual transmissions are becoming increasingly hard to find. Seeing the world change so much made me long for those “better days.” I began to believe that the old stuff could be as good as new stuff.

My obsession with technological simplicity is also rooted in my parents’ love of new technology. This fad-oriented attitude toward technology often frustrated me because of its complexity and the unreliability of new technology. I saw my parents as slaves to the shoddiness of new tech. Why have a touchscreen instead of a button? Why have voice control instead of a switch? While the world progressed, I felt compelled to stay behind.

The final push in my development of a retro attitude came from my best friend. Like me, he held a love for the old ways. He showed me his old technology and shared ideas with me about the importance of the past. He made me see the world in a different way. Without him, I never would have had the courage to pursue my retro lifestyle.

I do believe that under different circumstances my retro attitude would never have existed. Age is important. A person who saw less dramatic technological progress when they were growing up would welcome progress for a change. If I had gone to a public or private high school, I would probably embrace technology as a status symbol crucial to “fitting in.” If I had lived in a lower income household with less money to burn, I would not have developed a hatred of technological trendiness. Even geography would play a large role in embracing technology. A remote area far from civilization, rather than my suburban neighborhood, would make me savor every infrequent chance to check out the latest tech. I think that the binding theme between all of these is technological deprivation. While latest technology in these circumstances is a seldom enjoyed privilege, I suffered from a technology overload. Technology took over my household, and I loathed it for doing so. I became aware of its allure and shrugged it off. I don’t waste my time with moving forward when I am content to be where I am. Though I could have easily gone in the opposite direction, I think that I made a wise decision to embrace the past.

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One thought on “I Believe in Embracing the Past

  1. Adam,

    Great essay. One thing you might find is that nostalgia for older technology has a very long history. Not only is your taste in technology deliberately old-fashioned, but the set of beliefs you describe has also been around a long time.

    The attitutudes surrounding technology and progress were very important *Enlightenment* ideas. Lots of people in the 18C saw themselves as living through a period of major technological and social flux. The “moderns” embraced change; the “ancients” resisted it. How does new technology lead to social progress? What gets left behind?

    This would make a fanstastic topic for a peer-led unit.

    Grade: S

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