Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Amazing But True: Overpopulation and Nostalgia

Chaos has long speculated on the human "faulty memory problem" (which is to say, how people tend to forget or minimize negative memories and overemphasize positive ones) and how it contributes to sometimes quite powerful feelings of nostalgia. Chaos has also become aware at the same time that one of the real differences between the past and today is that there are more (much more) people at this very moment than at any time previous. As is sometimes the case, another being has encapsulated this in a most erudite and effective manner, and in the nation's paper of record, no less. The exemplary essay is also a primer on the negative effects of overpopulation (and there are many), and so it is highly recommended for those in the Imperial Bubble who can only glimpse fragments of the issue through the lens of the MSM: (here's an excerpt)

"It is futile to want the old days back, but that doesn’t mean one should ignore the lessons of the visitable past — say, when there were half that number of people in the country. In some important ways life really was better then because of it. The overcrowded, much noisier, more hectic, intensely urbanized and vertical world of the present can seem hostile and hallucinatory to anyone who knew America in a simpler form.

In my lifetime the population has doubled. I’m glad I grew up when the number of Americans was so much smaller. How does one explain to anyone under 50, or to the grateful unfazed immigrant from an overpopulated nation, that this was once a country of enormous silence and ordinariness — empty spaces not just in the Midwest and the rural South but in the outer suburbs of New England, like the one I grew up in, citified on one margin and thinning to woods on the other. That roomier and simpler America shaped me by giving me and others of my generation a love for space and a taste for solitude."

Sadly, the issue is a worldwide one as well, and so there is no escape (or is there? there will be a future post addressing this....) At any rate, this is one well stated and sobering piece of work.

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