Retro 1950’s

This is an interesting article with photos – The people who are STILL living like it’s 1951: Captivating portraits take a look inside America’s Rockabilly community. My hat tip goes to John Beeler for this link. History is characterised by forward and retro-revival movements. Often, the revivals had little idea about the underlying principles, philosophies and cultures. An example is nineteenth-century medievalism. Even that developed into a beautiful yet short-lived movement around the Arts & Crafts and Modernism – laid waste by two world wars.

Some time ago, I wrote Retro-futurism in which I offered musings about alternative cultures. In that article, I described a tendency to revive old cultures, and yesterday I looked into one of the more modern cultural movements that had its influence on many of us. The downside is often an attraction to trappings and eye-catching symbols and a serious misunderstanding of the philosophical underpinning of a given movement.

Comments by Stephen K and Ed on my article of yesterday are particularly illuminating:

But generational influences only go so far. It is not whether one is a pre-War, boomer or X or Y-er, but what you think and feel. When I was young, I imbibed the implicit or subliminal values of the contemporary society that came about as a result of the confluence of the influence of many things, but in some ways many of those values were conservative and less selfish than today’s. Today’s young religious conservatives forget that their traditionalism is a revision and extrinsic to a large degree – like a pasteurised confectionery – and not mother’s milk, and the two taste quite different, if you know what I mean. My own outlook is that there’s little that’s new under the sun, that one age’s problems are no more or less diabolical than another’s and that no religion or political party has all the truth. There’s a part of me that is drawn to the non-materialist life. I have two ideal holidays – one to sit around a pool at a tropical resort just reading books and drinking ice-cold beer; the other, to spend time in both a quiet Cistercian monastery and a Buddhist monastery (the former for depth; the latter for expansion).

Pastiche is always something rather questionable, especially when the underpinning is weak or absent. This was something fascinating about the rise of Nazism in the 1930’s and its attempted restoration of old Germanic mythology and the half-baked medievalism of the Nuremberg Rallies.

We do well to avoid following movements. Instead, we need to look within ourselves and our world for a good philosophy of life and spiritual health. There are many movements around us including caricatures of the future. We just need to be ourselves and connect with cultures and spiritual philosophies as they still exist among us.

We fear the future and misunderstand the past. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

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