golden age syndrome

If I could somehow get my hands on a new time machine, that comes in two models, one for the past and one for the future, and I were forced to choose only one, I should absolutely have to pick the one that  visits earlier times. For as far back as I can remember I’ve always been quite smitten with the past. Each individual seems to have some kind of excessive interest in either the past or future, as far as I can tell. Maybe it’s a part of mankind’s curse, to want to retreat to some supposed Garden of Eden of yore, or to some purported eschatological Heaven on earth in the future.  Neither of these viewpoints is the least bit legitimate.  Having always read very many biographies over the years, I have become insatiably curious about what it must have been like to have been alive during the days of Plato, Aristotle and Socrates, Medieval times and the Renaissance, or Jane Austen’s Regency period in England.  Of course, I’ve always been so notoriously MRr_Peabody_canvascurious about the first decade of my own lifetime, the 1960’s. Knowing me I should get quite a kick out of being able to  meet all the key figures or that era, especially the Beatles, during their prime. One of my favorite movies of recent years is Woody Allen’s “Midnight In Paris”.  In it the protagonist gets to visit both the Jazz Age and La Belle Epoque, and to meet key figures from each era. That would be perfect for me. One thing I’ve noticed about this kind of thing is that virtually no one ever seems to want to go back to a bygone era just to see what the past in general was like. Everyone wants it to be quite a profoundly significant experience, during which he can either meet famous people or live through distinctive milestones. Perhaps someday I shall meet Doug Phillips and Tony Newman from “The Time Tunnel” and they could give me some tips about what to expect.


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