Thursday, March 29, 2007

Old Days

At dinner time today, I was telling J about how I never saw a computer or a television when I was her age. She giggled "That sounds like Abraham's Lincoln's time" and asked "Did you live in houses when you were young ?" I figured she must have learnt that early man lived in caves. I said "Yes, that I did". She sighed in obvious relief "Thank goodness".

In J's world view very little separates my childhood from that of Cro-Magnon man's. Maybe the advances in technology over the last few decades have been impressive and significant enough to close the gap between Paleolithic times and the pre-Internet era to a several thousand years instead of several million years.

Reading this essay about fountain pens made me nostalgic for those days from so long ago that it seems like prehistory to my child. I could not agree more with the author when he says:

In times of Biros and BlackBerrys, it may well be tempting to dismiss the fountain pen as anachronistic. But it is precisely in reaction to the prevalence of the high-tech in people’s lives that “nostalgic” products are now so popular.

“The fountain pen is about deceleration – it helps you to think deeper and move more slowly,” says Heinrichsdorff. “And we all need that sometimes. Goethe described ink as ‘liquid thoughts’. And I think he was right.”

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