Restoration and Renewal in a Throwaway Age. Howard Mansfield has some
very ancient ideas about historic preservation, which is to say
they're not what we're used to hearing these days. Here in the
United States, in particular, we like to put things behind glass or a
velvet rope, fighting against the inevitability of decay. But isn't
decay a natural occurrence? And what should we really be fighting to
preserve? To elucidate his philosophy about the way we should regard
our history Mansfield spends time with backyard astronomers who grind
their own mirrors, auctioneers skilled at selling the old to a new
generation of buyers, hippies, reconstructionists, and caretakers.
When we recreate the old simply to keep things as they were, we remain
stuck in the past, unable to creatively envision a better future.
Nostalgia is bunk.
Daily, as we are daily
wed, we say the world
is a wedding for which,
as we are constantly
finding, the ceremony
has not yet been found.
Philip Booth, "Saying it"