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I just started following Pessimists Archive on Twitter and listening to its podcasts. Both focus on the common but irrational fear of all things new.

The Twitter feed describes itself as sharing “reactions to old things when they were new”. Consider how this reaction in 1889 is still relevant in 2019.

It is 130 years later and people are saying the same about mobile phones.

Each podcast is about 30 to 40 minutes long and is released only every one or two months. I have listed to a few episodes and I can see why they are infrequent. They lead the listener with engaging storytelling and well-researched historical bites.

I liked two audio snippets in the episode about comic books. In describing how people lament about new technologies, the narrator said that you cannot herd cats but you can move their food. This described the human condition of gravitating to comfort (the nostalgic past) and collectively opposing change (the new present or uncertain future).

But when trying to bring change, we often impose it. For example, in the episode about comic books adults declared that they took action because they were thinking of the children. But they did not ask the kids what they felt and thought.

The furore over comic books has gone and the fuss now seems like wasted effort. The worry now is with computing technologies and video games, and we might be making the same mistakes. It is easy to say we speak for a group, but have be asked and listened to them first?


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