Postalgia / Prostalgia – Is this as Good as it Gets?

Postalgia is a term used by science fiction writer William Gibson to explain the future fatigue plaguing contemporary culture.

Postalgia is a hankering after the present; as opposed to nostalgia, which is a hankering after the past.

Postalgia is the sense that things right now are as good as they will ever get. It is inherently pessimist.

Postaliga is an affliction that takes hold of developed (as in “completed developing”) nations and civilisations that due to arrogance (or despair) believe the best days are here and now. (For example, see Holland’s plans for a centrally planned economy designed to limit growth – like communism but without even the promise of growth – only of sustainability, ergo, to coin a term of my own, prostalgia: proactive deliberate postalgia as economic or corporate policy… the policy of ageing, rent-seeking, extractive empires of both the public and the private sort. I would argue Modern Monetary Theory, aka MMT and Universal Basic Income, aka UBI also fall into this deliberately defeatist / progressively conservative policy archetype.).

Postalgia is the result of the long slow decline in productivity, equality and real technological progress we have seen since the 1970s. It is the result of the hopelessness of postmodernism, the pointlessness of existence without belief in anything beyond the here and now, the trap of being caught in the endless NOW without a past and without a future worth believing in, without any unifying grand narrative to follow, without any substantial vision to work towards.

Postalgia is the cause of apathy and decadence found in the last days of all the world’s great empires.

Postaliga is a trap.

We need something worth believing in, something worth working towards, something worth building for the long now.

For more elaboration on these thoughts see here where I explain how giving up on the future is the worst thing we can do right now. There is just too much at stake.)


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