By Anselmo Ferreira Vasconcelos

The clash
between nostalgia
and modernity

Veja magazine recently published an at least provocative article about the confrontation between the feeling of nostalgia and current reality. Based on several studies, the authors hinted that, nowadays, a picture prevails in which the past emerges as something romantic and nostalgic, while the present is permeated with pessimism and dissatisfaction. As it usually happens, matters like this are subject to the most varied interpretations and opinions, depending on the observer. In general, there is a conviction – grounded or not – that things were much better in ancient times.

That said, it is consensual, for example, the opinion about the extraordinary advances obtained in the technological field in the last decades, but they do not mean that life has improved. In fact, in the past there was a simplicity that doesn't exist today, because, in this regard, it is worth remembering that now we have to have passwords for everything, and they do not guarantee us the desired security. In fact, in many cases the opposite is observed. To illustrate my reasoning, who hasn't gone through the experience of calling a company's SAC and feeling, at a given moment, abandoned and/or neglected? The unpleasant sensation of typing in a menu, which does not quickly and solicitously provide assistance to our needs by another human being, is not just a nostalgic expression, but the realization that we are not relevant enough. Many companies, still, literally push us towards the ubiquitous chats or Apps to search for a solution – which does not always happen – to our problems.

In this way, a conclusion emerges very clearly in this comparison: in present times, little value is actually given to the relational aspect, to frank and personal conversation and, by extension, to the authentic exchange between human beings in which one can always assess true emotions. and underlying facial expressions. It is for no other reason that it becomes increasingly difficult to know the inside of the other, as well as what is, in fact, in his soul. All this broad technological apparatus that today “serves” us has, paradoxically, brought a high distance between people, as never before. Definitely, such a conclusion is not at all positive from the perspective of the immortal Spirit.

However, the new generations are no longer sure. Many already know that attending college will not necessarily give them a passport to professional success. In fact, there are occupations seriously threatened by the proliferation of artificial intelligence, to the point of seeking a moratorium, as recently seen. In the past, it was normal for young people to move up the career ladder, gain financial independence, leave their parents' home and form their own family as natural processes. Unfortunately, the same healthy cycle is no longer fully observable today, as many young people are unable to move forward or find a way. This result, let's face it, is not an indicator of prosperity and social progress.

On the other hand, I remember my mother as a central figure in the composition of the home's harmony, always present to give advice and guidance. I observed the same picture, by the way, in the family of my friends. But it is also an undisputed fact that modern reality is in stark contrast to that of the past, in which women dedicated themselves full time to the home, undoubtedly making it more solid. For various reasons, women entered the labor market, dramatically changing this situation, not least because the modern patriarch is no longer able to earn enough income to support his family alone. Some argue that such a change has caused some disruption in homes, as mothers are no longer fully available to care for the family as was the case before.

At the same time, the coldness of family meals due to the intensive use of cell phones is already a topic of wide debate. Some, in fact, expressly prohibit the use of these devices on such occasions, so that healthy dialogues take place between members.

Nor is it simply nostalgia that people were more discreet in their sexual conduct. They had the modesty to keep certain things just for themselves, unlike the present day in which certain themes and inclinations are wide open. In fact, many artists and celebrities today expose, with the greatest naturalness and without ceremony, their preferences and tastes that would make even the Marquis de Sade blush. There is undeniably a frenetic need to exhibit bodies entirely or partially - at best - naked, as if we lived in the middle of the Garden of Eden.

Still others feel compelled to give an opinion on any subject without any ethical restraint, knowledge or training to do so. In other words, we live in a context where eroticism and ignorance have assumed a preponderant role, bordering on bad taste and debauchery. By the way, swearing or abusing foul language has become absolutely commonplace, including – God help me! - in some journalistic programs, former stronghold of the letter. In the modern world, there is little appreciation for elegance in language, for a demure and serene style in behavior and for behavioral balance. In the contemporary world, there is a great division between people, with little respect and tolerance for other people's opinions.

Still on the behavioral side, it is worth mentioning that one of the surveys, which served as the basis for the article cited above, bears the worrying data that 200,000 people heard over a decade declared that there was an ethical and moral setback in 84% of the questions asked. Indeed, it is a pillar in people's spiritual development. After all, without a clear and healthy direction in this regard, the individual will certainly reap bitter results in his life trajectory.

In this sense, it should be noted that the institutions – pillars of society – are in deep crisis and their representatives only deepen it, since their interventions are generally disastrous. Their speeches and attitudes often denote complete lack of control and incompatibility with the position they occupy. It is worth remembering that a well-known journalistic commentator expressed his dissatisfaction with this state of affairs, attributing it to the lack of ethics and morality in force. It is true that we – as a nation – have always fallen short in these very important dimensions, including in the past. But in the current context, it is undeniable that they have reached another level of “moral degradation”, in the words of the aforementioned press professional.

To try to explain such a gloomy perception, one can conjecture that perhaps the necessary emphasis is missing in current times that there are also good things happening. Clearly yes. However, they seem unable to overcome the contrary perceptions of pessimism and discouragement. In any case, the subject is complex and demands further analysis, which would certainly tire the reader in a single article. However, “...the time has come to make men know the truth”, as Allan Kardec once said. This truth, which encompasses the reality of the immortal Spirit, calls us to make changes in our way of seeing and being.

Therefore, the time has come to look more critically at our inner selves and ask whether we are really contributing to a better world. In this sense, let us keep in mind that God (always) expects from us actions and attitudes aimed at the greater good so that the planet can be, finally, regenerated and life, by extension, increasingly better for everyone.


Eleni Frangatos - eleni.moreira@uol.com.br



O Consolador
 Revista Semanal de Divulgação Espírita