It is a bit pretentious to say that one is looking for a world passed when what we have really is amazing. Fine, we can complain about the wars going on, the consumerism, the stress, that today’s news are yesterday’s news etc. Though, every time I think about the Georgians, the Victorians or even the Edwardians I say to myself “thank God we have penicillin, that the child mortality isn’t 40% any more, that a lack of coal won’t kill my family”. Because to be honest these are simple things we seem to forget easily when dreaming about the good old days of an untouched, virginal, more honest world.
I am happy to admit that the architecture, the art and music of bygone eras can be more appealing to the eye and ear. I also dream of the untouched countryside that seem to disappear more and more for each major supermarket opening their “24/7” monstrosities. Still, we are the ones who let it happen. If we create the need, the companies will be there filling their pockets by “supplying the needs of the modern lifestyle”.
After having been away from the UK for almost six months now I look back on my time there with love and affection. I hope to be able to go back one day, one way or the other. One of the things that fascinate me most with that country is their relationship with their own past. There is a love-hate relation to the Victorians that surprises me. Why this hatred towards the people who created the world they (and big parts of the Western World) live in? Imagine London without the houses from the mid-late 19th Century. Imagine the North of England and Scotland without the power and grandeur from the industrial revolution.
But maybe that’s why? Since the momentum of that era is gone forever, it is hard to find an identity in a world that no longer exists. The society and cultural climate that once was, isn’t any more. And now they need to find a way of accepting it. Of accepting the realities in a hierarchical society with incredible social differences and an antique educational system which is so elitist the elite who’ve partaken can’t see why it could possibly be wrong.
Maybe this is where they ought to look? By accepting the problems and dealing with them, maybe you can let go of a dark social past that still lingers in every nook of the British society. Because at heart, like most Brits if you give them the chance, there is warmth, passion and even love for your fellow man in the British society. Even in a Tory.
But, as long as the society chooses to look away from the facts of the hardship, unfairness and reality of it all, the only thing that will remain is the disrespect and hate towards the old, Victorian society and outdated values that still rule one of the most interesting countries in Europe. Let it not be like that. Embrace the past and see it for what it is, and what it can give us today. And then: move on. Just don’t touch the old architecture.