Why Are We So Nostalgic? – 8-Bit Philosophy

Why Are We So Nostalgic? – 8-Bit Philosophy


It’s time to rev up the hype train, dear
viewer. Your childhood memories are getting a reboot! That campy horror flick? It’s being remade! Your favorite 70s classic space opera? Let’s make it again! That 80s cartoon imploring you not to do drugs? Nobody asked, but let’s make a sequel! With all of these reboots, you’re likely either to be
excited to relive your idealized childhood, or infuriated that Hollywood just won’t
leave it alone. It’s obvious – there’s a spectre haunting
popular culture: the specter of nostalgia. While we may be quick to blame nostalgia on
lazy Hollywood profiteering, our willingness to consume nostalgia can tell us a great deal
about our present world. The word nostalgia, itself, was coined in the 1600s
from the Greek words for homecoming and pain. Now the term means much more than that. Nostalgia evokes a yearning for the past,
that while somewhat painful, can also bring joy. Today isn’t the first time the world has
seen an “outbreak” of nostalgia. Philosopher Svetlana Boym argues that nostalgia
has historically coincided with revolution. For example, the French Revolution erupted
in nostalgia for Ancient Rome. Women wore togas to symbolize liberty, men
wore Roman-style hats to show off their freedom, and the Roman hero Hercules saw renewed popularity
— they put him on coins and erected statues in his honor. Tales of King Arthur swept England and America
during the Industrial Revolution; the moral anchor of chivalry was comforting as massive
factories and railroads took over the landscape. When the world is tumultuous, the past provides
us with the certainty of something that will never change. Nostalgia today, then, may be a symptom of
our own revolution: the digital revolution. Having a home computer may be old news these
days, but the ease and speed with which we can consume media is unprecedented. Rather than being immersed in the culture
of the day, we have simultaneous access to thousands of years of music, and a hundred
years of film. With a terrifying amount of choice, we retreat
to familiar labels like #90skids. At the same time, our devices are in a state
of perpetual revolution. The way we shop, communicate, even the way
we hail taxis changes faster than we can adapt. With so much change, and so many options,
should we be so surprised that we long for static, unchanging past? But does nostalgia mean we’re stuck in the
past? Can we create anything new when we’re busy
rebooting Spiderman for the 8th time? “Hey everyone.” For philosopher Walter Benjamin, nostalgia
is always full of the “here-and-now:” every reimagining of the past involves our
own, very modern, conceptions. The past can help us leap into the future
– the French Revolution wasn’t trying to blindly recreate the Roman Republic. Instead, they loosely borrowed from it to
fit their own vision of the future. So too can superhero reboots and Star Wars
sequels use old ideas to analyze our own time in new ways. The original Planet of the Apes was a cautionary
tale about nuclear war. Now the new franchise is a cautionary tale
about how technology can pervert humanity. Star Trek used to be about cosmopolitanism
– now it’s about space terrorism. But as easily at this nostalgia can propel
us into the future, a politically driven nostalgia can help lead nations down a dangerous path. Mussolini’s fascism was named after the
same Roman fasces that were celebrated during the French Revolution. Monuments and buildings designed in the likeness
of Greek and Roman architecture exploded throughout Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. What do you think dear viewer? Is nostalgia a mindless retreat into the good
old days? Or can it help us explore the future with
a few familiar faces. Before you go, take a few more moments and
click HERE to watch our episode on Kanye West, where we delve into what Yeezus teaches us
about celebrity culture and philosophy. Or click on this handsome Smart Arse to visit
our channel page, where you can pick any episode you like – and SUBSCRIBE. And one last thing: If you’re looking for
more smart stuff on YouTube, visit our friends at TED-Ed. They makes tons of great videos on philosophy,
science, history and more. Give Plato a tickle to watch our collaboration
with them on Plato’s best, and worst, ideas. As always, thanks for watching, Beloved Viewer.

100 thoughts on “Why Are We So Nostalgic? – 8-Bit Philosophy

  1. holy shit guys those other facts they were fucking boring,they were awful i learned nothing from them, but fact number 8 oh fact number 8 blew my fucking mind fact number 8 made me feel so much i got my mind blown i went out the fucking park into the fucking stratosphere i hit the moon and i came back thanks to fact number fucking 8

  2. Nightmare on Elm Street wasn't a cheesy horror movie at all, personally it scared the hell out me. It sucks that such a great film had its legacy ruined by endless crappy sequels. Dream Warriors was great though

  3. This why our genernation is reminiscing out childhood by greedy fat cats. Not only that were are also condem to repeat the past with racism, misogyny, bigotry, violence, and corrupt corporations and politics

  4. Nostalgia is just a reminder of the good ole days of your life with familiar faces and it brings nothing new just some slight changes but that's like basically it.

  5. Please! Develop a 8-Bit Philosophy video about Śūnyatā (Shunyata), the Buddhist reinterpretation of fenomenology through the concept of Vacuity

    We need more oriental meemz, make Schopenhauer proud of this chanel

  6. I feel little nostalgia, I just read old things to be inspired. If we use nostalgia as either inspiration or as a cautionary tale, then it's used well. But if we wish that we could live back in such days, that is when shit hits the fan. The dangers come not from a desire of stability, but of a hatred or fear of the future for a blind love of the past. Sure, the 60's were a great time for music, but does anyone want to live in the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis, KKK, and scientific illiteracy again?

  7. I'll say nostalgia gives us the comfort to see things "differently" tan they actual look, giving us the chance to rethink and analize what was good and what could be used for our time. Such as providing us the eternal return of the same things, but "adapted".

  8. Hello! I'm just here wondering why you haven't done a 8-bit Philosophy on Lil Wayne. I'm sure he's interesting to talk about.

  9. The original Star Wars was based on Buck Rodgers, Flash Gordon, Westerns, Samurai Films, and World War 2. A lot of films from the past were based in nostalgia.

  10. Just another cycle of recycling. Its not all bad. Look at all the TV programs adapting books / comic books. In part due to Amazon / Netflix offering a third way to consume media. (vs TV and the big screen)

    I am instead ready for reality TV to fade from popularly.

  11. It's impossible to wait a critical point of view for hysterical nostalgia crisis via creating a youtube video series in which explains philosophy in 80's video game graphics.

  12. when the world changes for the worst people get nostalgic. right now there is a demographic shift in the west. revolution is coming.

  13. This channel always reminds me how loud our culture has gotten, I like how fast it is but I wish everything wasn´t so in your face

  14. Because most meaning has eroded out from underneath us; our spouse & family; faith; nationalism; patriotism; even cosmopolitanism. And we've not replaced it sufficiently. And too many luxuries insulate us from the conditions which forced us to rely upon, and thus bond with and make meaning from these groups/idea/stories. And we've none created cultures which discipline themselves to maintain their bonds in the face of 21st century luxury.

    We are forced into radical, vicious individualism to survive and keep face, when we want in addition to that, in our hearts, also to have soft, loving, accepting, growth-oriented feelings in life, too. And the closest we get is are the simple experiences of childhood, when we were not fully mentally formed, and when many of us had very rich positive experiences, untainted by complications and thoughts, etc.

    These impressions, these strong conditioned reflexes, still exist because of their time in the development process, we built us around that, neurologically. So this becomes our sugary snack when quality nutrition is not available.

  15. Very broad definition of "revolution". Comparing the french revolution to consumer fashion trends is daft.

  16. Revolution = literally "RE" – volution e.g. turning back. Revolution is always the reestablishment of a past state.

  17. To me Nostalgia is not only about reliving the good things in your past but it is also about a reminder to yourself who you were verses who you are now, not only in personality but also in interest. Etc.  And finally to me Nostalgia should be treasured. Just take look at me it took that 'When Some Body Loved Me' Scene in Disney Pixars Movie Toy Story 2 to get me to realized my childhood and how I have changed, along with the images on the screen. And now every time when I watch that Scene in that movie I tear up every time with out fail. Because of NOSTALGIA. But Any way that is my opinion anyways, I could be wrong who knows.

  18. There is also PERSONAL nostalgia. You know, two friends talking about an old TV show they adored, or simply ONE person fondly looking back

  19. Season 20 of South Park (The first half of course) was also an excellent explanation of how nostalgia is becoming toxic now. It got Trump elected.

  20. Because what we grew up with and partly shaped us is comforting most of the time, and we have a strong inner loyalty to those feelings. Of course when you`re completely stuck in the past and can`t move forward that`s bad lol

  21. "To articulate the past historically does not mean to recognize it 'the way it really was'. It means to seize hold of a memory as it flashes up at a moment of danger. Historical materialism wishes to retain that image of the past which unexpectedly appears to man singled out by history at a moment of danger. The danger affects both the content of the tradition and its receivers. The same threat hangs over both: that of becoming a tool of the ruling classes. In every era the attempt must be made anew to wrest tradition away from a conformism that is about to overpower it. The Messiah comes not only as the redeemer, he comes as the subduer of Antichrist. Only that historian will have the gift of fanning the spark of hope in the past who is firmly convinced that even the dead will not be safe from the enemy if he wins. And this enemy has not ceased to be victorious."

  22. I agree that we want something familiar especially now that things are changing so quickly. We need to get better at this nostalgic stuff though. We remembering things but relapse into old values.

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