As a philosopher, Albrecht determined to identify and name this condition. The word he came up with was solastalgia, a portmanteau word of the Latin solus, which means “abandonment and loneliness,” and nostalgia. Nostalgia has not always had the warm and fuzzy connotations it does now. When it was first used, in the seventeenth century, it described a diagnosable illness that afflicted people who were far from home but could not return. Soldiers were particularly susceptible, as were people forced into migration by conflict, colonization, and slavery. The cure, it was thought, was simply to return home and be soothed by familiarity — otherwise, the sufferer’s distress would continue, even to the point of death. To Albrecht, if nostalgia was a sickness caused by the displacement brought about by seventeenth-century globalization, solastalgia was its twenty-
We asked parents who attended our informal session last week to sort all these aspirations into two groups. Once they got going, it quickly became clear which would put pressure on their children and which would support them in becoming well adjusted, valued and valuable members of society, content within themselves. We ask you to think about it too…
Imagine how much richer our lives would be if we could get past living in a world filled with “that’s just the way we’ve always done it” thinking, and replace it with a whole new set of completely unreasonable ideas that shake us up and help us see the world a bit differently.
Excerpt from my book Lifelong Kindergarten: Cultivating Creativity through Projects, Passion, Peers, and Play
Techno-skeptics often argue that children should spend more time with crayons and watercolors, rather than tablets and laptops. But they tend to forget that crayons and watercolors were viewed as “advanced technologies” at some point in the past. We see them differently now because they’ve become integrated into the culture. Computer pioneer Alan Kay likes to say that technology is anything that was invented after you were born. For kids growing up today, laptops and mobile phones aren’t high-tech tools — they’re everyday tools, just like crayons and watercolors.
He also explains that the problem with technology is not necessarily the tool itself, but the way in which it is used. With this in mind he suggests that we try and maximise ‘creative’ time
Spending all your time on any one thing is problematic. But the most important issue with screen time is not quantity but quality. There are many ways of interacting with screens; it doesn’t make sense to treat them all the same. Time spent playing a violent video game is different from time spent texting with friends, which is different from time spent researching a report for school, which is different from time spent creating and sharing an interactive story with Scratch. Rather than trying to minimize screen time, I think parents and teachers should try to maximize creative time.