Some people believe that the arc of human history continues to bend ever more toward justice, and that means that any step backward into the past would inevitably mean living in a time of fewer freedoms, greater poverty and more risk. Others feel that we have already passed our best as a civilization and are doomed to go the way of Rome, meaning that looking backward with nostalgia is wise and comforting, if potentially distressing. Either way, there is much to be learned from our past - whether to avoid reliving it or to simply identify which of its traditions and ideas we should maintain.
That means we ought to look at different periods of human history and at the values and cultural tropes that emerged from them. Where would we fit most comfortably, and what does that tell us about what's missing from our lives now? Do we miss the sense of community of the pre-Industrial era? How about bringing back the openness, creativity and progressive spirit of the Renaissance and the period's willingness to cast off superstition even in the face of an overwhelmingly powerful monarchy and church? What about the optimism and the sense of possibility of the Atomic Age?
Let's find out which of these matches you best - and in so doing, perhaps shed a little light on what you might want to revive for our own time!
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