On growing up in old places
Could I have a black tea in a glass ? With milk on the side, thank you ~bartender.
(not a lot of things are more beautiful than milk poured into a transparent glass full of dark black tea)
A few days ago I visited Bruges. Bruges is a city that was very prosperous during the end of middle age. Then it declined, mostly because it lived off trading, and the rivers went dry so the ships could not come the city anymore.
In 500 years, the population was decreased by half.
Now the city is more or less a museum, living from tourism off the greatness of it's history.
I realize this is more or less what Europe is like : an old continent that has a lot of tourists visiting (I caricature).
I grew up there, I wonder how it shaped my view of the world, compared to an American that grew up in a much younger country. Maybe it affected my vision of time, of how I project myself in the future.
I am curious about what people who grew up in different places think about this. What does it change to grow up in a "young" or in an "old" place.
Also I wonder if China should be considered young or old. In one hand it's very dynamic, on the other it already has a great past, although I don't know if it's seen by Chinese people as a "golden era".
I'm in Canary Islands, the place is politically in Europe but it wasn't so until the 16th century. Most of pre-hispanic (and prehistoric) culture has been lost and we're ethnically more of a mix and mush. We're Africans too, but not in the sense they use in America and...
oh, no this is a can of worms...
The young or old aspect I'd say depends on how much that country cares about and plays up its past. Take Turkey or Cyprus for instance -- these are countries constantly referenced in biblical texts (see: Chittim), full of ruins, treasure troves of empires have passed through and left their mark there, but the people - for the most part - simply do not care. There aren't that many museums dedicated to ruins there, except maybe for the tourists who seem to care more.
Germany takes huge pride in its medieval castles and these are plain to see by their upkeep and their prominence on wine bottles. There are a few references to what happened between 1936-1945, and though there is (was?) a culture of atonement/regret/guilt in the immediate generations that followed after, it's one where you really wouldn't know what happened unless you tripped over a gold stone with someone's name on it.
In the UK they play up the Kings&Queens during history classes, but completely skip over the role that the UK had in the slave trade (and also it's role in abolishing it).
My point: It's a selective memory these European/Eurasian countries have. Yes the US has a short history, but every single aspect of it is seemingly brought into the forefront and talked about in great detail, warts and all
Intesting, I agree with you nation memory is always selective. Russian in particular have a very paradoxical relation to the sovietic era : everyone knows about the Gulag but also their is a strong nostalgy for this era.
Of course the era in which a country is most relevant is going to prove nostalgic for it.
Most of the world is pretty young because the notion of the Westphalian nation-state is new to them. There's no such thing as old money there comparable to European old money and even their royalty doesn't come close. It is hard to grasp how many places were still feudal in the 20th century.
This might be a controversial opinion, but closely examined Asia would appear to be mentally ill and in denial to most Westerners. "Saving face" and the family structure is mired in mental illness and abuse.
Being a Westerner and an American, I'm not sure I have any business criticizing Asian families. Western families are also prone to abuse, saving face matters more than you think, and I can't help but suspect that what we call "toxic masculinity" is the population-wide consequence of generations of emotional neglect.
Well you can see how it drives Asian women in the West away from marrying Asian men.
Perhaps, but if Asian women in the West don't want Asian men, that's their decision and I'm fine with it.
I've come to regard marriage as a bad idea for most people, especially men. Women are free to discard traditional gender roles, and I think that's a good thing, but many of the women who discard traditional femininity still expect the men they date and marry to conform to traditional masculinity. That's a raw deal for men, and not one we'll fix until we have a serious Men's Liberation movement that learns from feminism and complements it without repeating its mistakes.