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Social Changes Resulting from the COVID Pandemic

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Sociology
Wordcount: 1617 words Published: 12th Oct 2021

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Walking Backwards

I was a genius, I won hundreds upon hundreds of awards, I was a natural at math! Being the Mathematician Statistician of the year and of course, let's not forget being crowned the chief scientific scholar of the generation…I was living the best of life!! But by then Preschool was over. This true childhood story depicts my undying craving to go back to the glory days of Preschool ever since I stepped foot in the deadly hallways of High School!

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And, I know I am not alone here! Once in a while, don't we all relive those past happy moments like that wonderful trip to Disney or Hawaii? This very desire among us to rewind the clock to a happier and simpler time is what psychologists call "collective nostalgia". And as I like to call it: "Walking Backwards" to the good old days.

This emotional undercurrent is so strong and omnipresent that it has been the biggest reason for many problems we face in our world. This craving for the good old days has created a dangerous misremembering of our past to misguide our present and rewrite our future. And this is my concern today.

So now, we'll first flip through our old scrapbooks to explore society's infatuation with Mr. Nostalgia. Next, we'll jog our memory as we analyze what's causing us to embrace this mindset. And finally, let's save ourselves against an unhealthy habit of walking backward with nostalgia.

"Bring back our childhood diseases. They keep us healthy! And help fight cancer!!",​ tweeted Darla Shine. Mrs. Shine, wife of communications director Bill Shine in claimed that #childhood diseases like #measles have kept the baby boomer generation strong and thriving! In her 18-hour twitter spree in February 2019, Mrs. Shine was audacious and ruthless with her claims against the use of " vaccines".

Clearly in the current climate, with a year-long pandemic, nostalgists are having their best moments. Their case strengthens every day with the world struggling to get to a working vaccine. Now, we hear more in the media about "defeating COVID with bravery instead of vaccines". These voices become louder as nostalgists unite to seize the opportunity.​

According to an article dated March 2019 published in the Foreign Policy magazine "Social Economist Marks"​ ​, collective nostalgia strengthens bonds between those fantasizing about the same idealism, consequently mobilizing a nation towards illusory goals by idealizing a historic glory.

When we collectively romanticize the past, we turn collective nostalgia into a social amnesia, an inattentional blindness. According to Dr. Herman Gray, professor of sociology at the University of California, collective nostalgia softens the hard edges of history,"intensifying moments we find desirable while diminishing moments that turned otherwise".

Brexit is a great example of the Mandela effect within collective nostalgia. According to EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier, Brexit was caused by "nostalgia for the past". He identifies "typically British​ " causes for the "​ vote to leave "; the biggest one being "​ the hope for a return to a powerful global Britain, nostalgia for the past".

We, the "United States" are we different? Some want to "Make America Great Again!!"

You may have seen former President Donald Trump talking about "the good old days" in a video that went viral a few years ago. In this rally, he voices things he misses about the "good old days"

To mention a few, in the good old days:

· We as a country were smart and strong

· You go to war, you win and the country is yours

· Immigrants worked, worked hard and very hard every day

· Protestors were dealt so roughly that next time, they'd think twice

All our former president was saying is that "America was so strong in those good old days" that we could care less about others and do anything we wanted!! Here he is deeply romanticizing our past strength without realizing the real truth of the situation. Is this the right way of reminiscing about our past?

Normally, there's nothing wrong with taking a trip down memory lane, so what causes someone to go and live in the past instead? Research published in the October 19th, 2019 edition of the journal Social Psychology says collective nostalgia is triggered by collective angst. When rapid social changes make someone or a group feel threatened, its members close ranks and find strength through shared experiences, becoming self-centered and less empathetic towards outsiders. Collective nostalgia is a coping strategy for dealing with loss of privilege and a "fearof missing out".

We have a compelling example right in our backyard; The Civil War, a massacre caused by the American South, with their desire to save slavery, a privilege they believed were entitled to.

Just a few weeks ago, history repeated itself. Thousands of protestors stormed our nation's sacred capital to reinstate their privilege as Americans by attempting to reverse an election. Another act triggered out of a past privilege that shocked our democratic system and scarred our nation's image.

The desire to relive the past has repeatedly ruined the present, These incidents happen worldwide… from the Hong Kong and Syria humanitarian crises to the cause of the Black Lives Matter movement in our very own country.

Now you may have heard that the 1960s you know back when they thought 2020 was going to be the greatest year ever with flying cars and innovation and NO PANDEMICS… well Brian Williams in an NBC newscast in 2018, refers to these very 1960s as "a sweeter era'​ ' and​ "one of genuine innocence" . I beg to differ.​

Those were also the days of the civil rights struggle and atrocities that followed. At time when hundreds of children were bitten by police dogs and knocked to the ground by high-powered hoses simply because they were protesting against segregation.

The "good old days" are good because we see what we want to see from the past and not the whole picture. It's obvious that "good old days" had their share of problems as well. The world today is more dangerous than before with past problems getting bigger and new ones cropping up.

The Doomsday clock has moved within 100 seconds of midnight, signaling the biggest threat to the world. Internally, unrest is among all groups – no one seems to be happy. Social empathy towards communities in need has become dormant. And, even after 200 years of medical research, mankind is now facing the biggest threat for its existence

This is a paradox we'll always face when we compare the present to the past. Collective Nostalgia has single-handedly exacerbated this disparity further…

To solve this, we must ensure that the happy glasses through which we view our past don't wrongly color our future.

According, Research published in the Journal Developmental Science says people who are reminded of their multiple identities, such as brother or friend, showed more flexible thinking about social groupings.

So our first solution is to see people as more complex, allowing us to better connect and empathize with others. This mindset could hopefully result in a more accepting attitude across political, social, and generational lines, mitigating the risk of one group's definition of the good old days acting as a barrier to social change.

And second, we must learn to embrace every experience in its entirety: the good and the bad. This way we bring the best outcome to this moment from the past and be present to get the best out of NOW!

Works Cited

"80s Culture, 90s Ads and the Collective Memory of Today's Nostalgia." ​Koobr​, 30 Apr.

2020,koobr.com/80s-culture-90s-ads-and-the-collective-memory-of-todays-nostalgia/ "America's Vaccination Crisis Is a Symptom of Our Broken Society | Meghan O'Rourke." ​The Guardian​, 2 Apr.

2019,www.theguardian.com/society/commentisfree/2019/apr/02/america-anti-vaxx-movement-c risis-broken-society.

Hoffmann, Diane. ​PHYSICIANS WHO BREAK the LAW​.

​"We Can't Embrace the Future If We're Longing for the Past | Rafael Behr." ​The Guardian​, 23 Dec. 2015, www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/dec/23/embrace-future-longing-past-nostalgia-mem ories. Accessed 25 Feb. 2021.

​"10 Atrocities Committed by the British Empire That They Would like to Erase from History Books." ​HistoryCollection.com​, 18 Mar. 2018, historycollection.com/10-atrocities-committed-by-the-british-empire-that-they-would-like-to-era se-from-history-books/6/. Accessed 25 Feb. 2021.​

"Lindsey Graham Asks about 'Good Old Days of Segregation.'" ​Mediaite​, 14 Oct. 2020, www.mediaite.com/news/lindsey-graham-asks-amy-coney-barrett-about-a-return-to-the-good-ol d-days-of-segregation/. Accessed 25 Feb. 2021.

Saunders, George. "Who Are All These Trump Supporters?" ​The New Yorker​, 2016, www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/07/11/george-saunders-goes-to-trump-rallies. ​Niamh McIntyre, et al. "It's 34,361 and Rising: How the List Tallies Europe's Migrant Bodycount." ​The Guardian​, The Guardian, 20 June 2018, www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/20/the-list-europe-migrant-bodycount.


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