Nostalgia: A Plague on Humanity 

Nostalgia: A powerful emotion that some think truly completes us as humans. The desire to return to the past, to a better time, a better place. Due to this, nostalgia can be used to manipulate our perception of reality. Did the ‘good old days’ really exist? Are rose colored glasses useful? In today’s world do we care more about quality, or more about how much things connect to our childhood? The problem is that because of this obsession with the past, people can be easily manipulated.


The good old days is a topic frequently mentioned in relation to nostalgia. People like to think back to a time where everything was seemingly perfect. A time with better music and better people. Stephanie Coontz, a historian and writer for the New York Times agrees with this. She feels than when many people think back they neglect to remember all of the lives that weren’t so hunky-dory. If you were rich in a time period with unregulated capitalism, you might neglect to remember the thousands of people starving in the streets right outside your door.

Also, some people might remember the Christmas of 2012, being on of the greatest, but it wasn’t for a lot of people. Many families were still grieving because just 11 days before the, Sandy Hook shooting had taken place.

Coontz rightfully realizes this. Coontz understands that when happy memories are put in to their full context they can no longer be as happy as they once were. This is why people so often selectively forget parts of their past.

Top Writers
Bella Hamilton
Verified expert
5 (234)
Prof. Clara
Verified expert
5 (345)
Professor Harris
Verified expert
4.9 (457)
hire verified writer

Tierney has a slightly different view on the good old days. Instead of focusing whether or not they exist he focuses on their effect on people. He believes that thinking about past events can help us ultimately become more human. A direct example he uses is one of Odysseus an ancient Greek Hero. This show that even in ancient Greece, people were dealing with nostalgia. Though it is an opinion that I wished I shared, alas I do not. This is due to the fact that nostalgia to large degree flat out ignores the facts. This is because if it didn’t many people wouldn’t find the past as appealing. [284]

Many people may not realize by Nostalgia can be like a drug. This is most common when politicians or large corporations get their hands on it. One key example of this is when corporations decide to remake old shows for a quick buck. One key example is the Powerpuff Girls. Many people look back on it as a 90s classic. The network that hosted the show, cartoon network, realized this and recently remade the show. Unfortunately, the show was objectively not as good as the original as it had no heart and had frequent animation errors. In cartoon network’s eyes, this was no big deal. In fact, the more people complained about the show the more free press it got. In contrast, Tierney sees nostalgia as making us more human.

This is is a detriment to humanity, because it gives companies the tools to make bank off of us. One reason why ‘Make America Great Again’ was such a popular slogan was because of nostalgia. This slogan of course is a false statement. The word ‘again’ implies that it happened once before, but this is ultimately a lie. The only reason things like the Woman’s Suffrage Movement, the Civil Right Movement and the Vietnam War protests happened was that America wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t even great. So to have in your mind a time when America was great, like 46% of the US population did is absurd. People tend to have an unhealthy obsession of wanting to return to the pass and the economy and politicians are quick to prey on that. [262]

I believe that if humanity stopped looking through rose colored glasses, our lives would be greatly improved. Coontz agrees and mentions how many people in the past really didn’t have good lives. She brings up issues like slavery. Issues like this show us something interesting about the human mind. It shows us that we frequently like to repress the pasts of memories that we don’t find particularly attractive Tierney on the other hand believes that looking on the past positively can help us create a better future.

With him I vehemently disagree. One example that come to mind for me is the Ku Klux Klan. This was a group who looked to the past with rose colored glasses, and they had one goal. To make things the way they used to be. I feel the only was to make society a better place is to to look forward. Nostalgia bring our progress to a screeching halt. People would rather argue about how things used to be better, instead of actually making them better. [173]

All in all, Nostalgia is a plague on humanity. It is frequently used manipulate us into paying for things that aren’t really good, or convincing us that we should strive for the ‘good old days.’ It is used to promote memories over quality and the prevalence of people seeing through Rose colored glasses contribute to this problem. All in all if we are to make the world a better place we need to leave nostalgia in the past. [78]

Cite this page

Nostalgia: A Plague on Humanity . (2021, Apr 26). Retrieved from

Are You on a Short Deadline? Let a Professional Expert Help You
Let’s chat?  We're online 24/7